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Merchant Navy (Recruitment)

Volume 480: debated on Monday 13 November 1950

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asked the Minister of Transport if he will give figures to indicate the number of deck and engineer officers respectively in the Merchant Navy now serving in British ships; to what extent there has been a rise in the rate of resignations and whether he is satisfied that an adequate number of cadets and apprentices are coming forward to make good any wastage.

The number of masters and navigating officers serving in the Merchant Navy on 30th September, 1950, was 15,631, of whom 13,122 were certificated and 2,509 uncertificated. The number of engineer officers on the same date was 22,978, of whom 7,188 were certificated and 15,790 were uncertificated. These figures all show increases over a year ago. I have no reason to suppose that there has been an increase in the number of resignations.In general, recruitment of cadets, apprentices and junior engineers, and of men returning to the industry, is keeping ahead of wastage and enabling the increasing British tonnage to be manned, but the shortage of certificated engineers which we have experienced since 1939 still persists.