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Seamen

Volume 981: debated on Tuesday 18 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he intends to consult officials of the National Union of Seamen and the International Transport Workers' Federation in considering whether instructions to immigration officers in respect of non-professional seamen require amendment.

As I have informed the hon. Member in reply to another question, the instructions have already been amended in respect of shipwrecked non-professional seamen. I see no reason to amend the instructions in other respects, but would of course consider any proposals which were put to me.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many seamen employed upon ships which arrived in British ports are known to have deserted and remained in the United Kingdom in breach of immigration controls, during each year from 1973 to the date upon which the latest figures are available; and if these figures can be listed by country of origin.

The information requested in the first part of the question is given in the following table, which also shows the number of deserters traced.

Recorded as having desertedDeserters traced in the UK*
19734441973270
19743871974226
19753491975223
19762581976240
19771461977282
19781311978203
19791131979(Not yet available)
* Those traced may have deserted in a previous year
The cost of providing details of reported deserters by their country of origin from 1973 would be disproportionate. The figures for 1979 are more readily available and are as follows:

Commonwealth
Bangladesh9
Cyprus7
Ghana1
Guyana1
India6
Nigeria7
Sierra Leone2
Sri Lanka1
United Kingdom Passport Holders subject to control1
35
Non-Commonwealth
Belgium2
Denmark8
Germany (Federal Republic)5
Egypt1
Colombia1
Finland3
Greece7
Indonesia1
Iran1
Iraq3
Lebanon1
Morocco2
Norway6
Pakistan10
Portugal3
Spain1
Sweden2
Turkey6
Other foreign countries15
78

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Commonwealth or foreign seamen employed upon ships which arrived in British ports were granted shore leave; how many were refused such leave during the last quarter of 1979 or the latest period for which figures are available; and if these figures can be listed by port of arrival.

During 1978, the last year for which complete figures are available, some 900,000 Commonwealth and foreign seamen arrived at United Kingdom ports as members of ships' crews, and were eligible for shore leave under the provisions of section 8(1) of the Immigration Act 1971 or after examination by an immigration officer. The numbers of those granted shore leave after such examination are not separately recorded.The number of seamen refused leave to enter for shore leave or other purposes in the last quarter of 1979 by ports of arrival was:

Commonwealth seamen
Belfast10
Bristol17
Cardiff3
Falmouth15
Felixstowe4
Glasgow3
Gravesend23
GrimsbyNil
Hartlepool9
Harwich1
Hull4
Immingham4
Leith19
Liverpool10
London11
Manchester2
MiddlesbroughNil
Milford HavenNil
Newport2
South Shields5
Southampton2
Swansea1
Tyne29
Other ports25
199
Foreign seamen
BelfastNil
Bristol1
Cardiff2
Falmouth1
Felixstowe2
Glasgow7
Gravesend19
Grimsby1
HartlepoolNil
HarwichNil
Hull1

Immingham1
Leith2
Liverpool5
London11
ManchesterNil
Middlesbrough1
Milford Haven1
NewportNil
South Shields2
Southampton3
Swansea1
Tyne11
Other ports27
99

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will place in the Library a copy of the instructions to immigration officers in respect of non-professional seamen, in view of his undertaking to consider whether these require amendment.

The instructions to immigration officers are not published. Those relating to shipwrecked seamen have now been amended to provide expressly that non-professional seamen, like regular seamen, should normally be given leave to enter when shipwrecked.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether all professional and so-called non-professional seamen employed upon ships which arrive in British ports are individually interviewed with regard to applications for shore leave; and if those who are refused are served with notice to that effect.

No. Under subsection 8(1) of the Immigration Act 1971 a member of a ship's crew may enter without leave unless the provisions at (a), (b) or (c) in that subsection apply to him. Those refused leave to enter are served with notice to that effect.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there are any circumstances in which a blanket refusal of shore leave to seamen employed upon a particular ship would be decided without the service of individual notices to each seaman; and what such circumstances are.

Notice of refusal of entry may be given to a person in charge of a party in respect of any person in that party, in accordance with paragraph 6(4) of schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971. Such action would rarely be taken in respect of a group of seamen but might be resorted to, for example, when the whole group seemed likely to desert and service of notices on individuals was impracticable.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines are laid down to assist immigration officers in deciding upon temporary admission in respect of seamen who leave or are dismissed from ships which arrive in British ports and who wish to return to their countries of origin or elsewhere, with a view to joining another ship, and have insufficient funds to do so.

A seaman who leaves a ship at a port in this country for any reason other than shore leave must seek leave to enter the United Kingdom. If the immigration officer is satisfied that a seaman will comply with arrangements made for his onward travel and is acceptable in the country of his destination, he normally will give leave to enter for a limited period pending departure. If the immigration officer is not so satisfied he may refuse the seaman leave to enter in which case he may authorise his detention pending removal. Each case is dealt with on its merits. It is for the ship's owners or agents to provide for the seaman's onward travel arrangements, and maintenance if necessary.