S.S. "sheffield."

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce. – in the House of Commons on 31st July 1922.

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Photo of Sir John Butcher Sir John Butcher , City of York

8.

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been called to the Report of a case recently heard in the British Supreme Court in Constantinople, in which one Anthony Evangelinos, the alien master of the s.s. "Sheffield," flying the red ensign, was convicted and sentenced to five years' hard labour for a rape on a Russian refugee girl of 15 years of age who had been entrusted to the care of this man as the master of the ship; whether he is aware that the judge, in passing sentence, said that young defenceless girls and the honour of the British flag must be protected, that the jury recommended that the authorities should exercise more care in the future to ensure that ships under the British flag should be commanded by British masters, and that the judge said he would forward that recommendation to the High Commissioner and to the senior naval officer; whether the s.s. "Sheffield" is a British ship; if so, whether the Government will consider the advisability of amending the recent Aliens Restriction Act so as to ensure that the master of a British ship shall be a British subject; and, if the s.s. "Sheffield" is not a British ship, whether the Government will take steps to prevent the use of the British flag by a foreign ship?

Photo of Sir William Mitchell-Thomson Sir William Mitchell-Thomson , Glasgow Maryhill

My attention has been called to the report, and the facts are as stated in the question. The "Sheffield" is a British ship, and Evangelinos claimed to be a naturalised British subject. With regard to the last part of the question, I would refer my hon. and learned Friend to the answer given on 10th July to the hon. Member for the Maldon Division.

Photo of Sir John Butcher Sir John Butcher , City of York

Can any action be taken by this country to prevent the master of a British ship from committing such atrocious outrages?

Photo of Sir William Mitchell-Thomson Sir William Mitchell-Thomson , Glasgow Maryhill

Certainly. His certificate can be dealt with.

Photo of Sir Harry Brittain Sir Harry Brittain , Acton

Is there not a rule that the captain and officers of British ships shall he of British nationality or naturalised British subjects?

Photo of Sir William Mitchell-Thomson Sir William Mitchell-Thomson , Glasgow Maryhill

I require notice of that question.