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Piracy, Chinese Waters (Guards)

Volume 237: debated on Monday 24 March 1930

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asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether, in view of the decision to abolish the armed antipiracy guards on British ships in China, an undertaking will be made adequately to indemnify officers, men, and owners in respect of losses which may be sustained as a result of inadequate protective measures against piracy?

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware of the concern with which the decision to abolish the armed anti-piracy guards on British ships in China is regarded by shipping companies and officers' organisations interested in British shipping in China; and whether he will give the reason for the decision to abolish the system of guards?

The question is under discussion with the shipping companies concerned. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 12th March [OFFICIAL REPORT, columns 1301–2] to the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy).

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty what is the number of lives lost, excluding pirates, arising out of piracy in the China seas from 1st January,, 1921; what is the estimate of the material loss sustained by British ships in that period from acts of piracy; and what is the estimated annual cost of an adequate system of armed guards?

I regret that the Admiralty are not in a position to supply the information asked for in the first two parts of the question. The cost of an adequate system of armed guards, if marines were employed, would at the least be £80,000 a year.