§ 86. Mr. Awbery
asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that the maximum fine that can be imposed for overloading a ship is frequently less than the extra profits made by the illegal freight; and if he will take steps to prevent profits being made by breaking the law.
§ Mr. Maclay
I am aware of the circumstances to which the hon. Member refers. The maximum penalties for overloading ships are prescribed in the Merchant Shipping (Safety and Load Line Conventions) Act, 1932, and legislation would be required to change them. During recent months my Department has initiated a number of successful prosecutions, and I hope that the watch which is being kept in our ports and the action which is taken when ships are found to be overloaded will themselves prove to be effective deterrents. I will keep the matter under close review.