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British Mercantile Marine (Census)

Volume 155: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1922

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asked the President of the Board of Trade how many foreigners and natives of the Far East are employed on British ships; what are the numbers of Scandinavians, Germans, Russians, Chinese, and Lascars; and if he can give the number of British seamen unemployed and the number of British seamen in receipt of the Government grant?

The latest particulars available regarding the nationalities of persons employed on British ships are those of the census of the British mercantile marine for 19th June, 1921, from which the following statement is compiled:Number of seamen of the undermentioned nationalities employed on seagoing vessels registered under Parts I and IV of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894 (excluding yachts) on 19th June, 1921:

Nationality.On Trading Vessels.On Trading Vessels.
British (including Irish, dominion and Colonial).95,73414,351
Swedish, Norwegian and Danish.1,703108
Chinese (on European agreements).1,608
Other natives of Far East, so far as could be ascertained (on be ascertained (on European agreements).1,338
Lascars (on Asiatic agreements).41,527
Other foreigners9,50233
In view of the generally depressed state of trade at the time to which these figures relate, they cannot be treated as representative of normal conditions. According to statistics respecting the numbers of seamen engaged as the first crews of vessels (except yachts), registered in the British Islands, that were employed at sea during the year 1921, the numbers of different nationalities were as follows:
Nationality.On Trading Vessels.On Fishing Vessels.
Lascars (British subjects and foreigners).53,539
Foreigners (other than Lascars).15,790148
In regard to these figures no further details of nationalities are available.

With reference to the last part of the question, I am informed that the number of British seamen registered as unemployed on the latest date for which particulars are available (22nd May, 1922) was 21,042. This number includes about 12,000 in receipt of the Government grant.