I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the British steamer "Palastrina" engaged a crew at Rotterdam on or about the 30th July, 1907; whether the British Vice-Consul allowed four seamen to be signed on the articles of the vessel as A.B.'s, not one of whom was able to prove that he had three years sea service; whether the "Palastrina" is now lying at Cardiff; and, if so, whether he will cause inquiries to be made at Rotterdam and Cardiff as to the want of three years sea service of these men who were signed on as able seamen.
The facts are as stated by my hon. friend. An assurance has, however, been received from the Vice-Consul that in future seamen who cannot prove the necessary sea service will not be given the rating of A.B.
May I call the hon. Gentleman's attention to his previous Answer? He now admits that the Vice-Consul has been signing men on as A.B.'s who could not prove three years service, and before that he said no distinction was made.
Both Answers are accurate.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the "Palastrina" is not one of the Furness line, and that before men are allowed to sign on for the Furness boats the Vice-Consul is particular to see that they prove three years service? Did he not in this case overlook the provision and allow incompetent men to sign on?
I do not admit that at all. If the hon. Member has any further information I shall be pleased to consider it.