Mr. B. RUSSELL (Hants).
I would like, ilr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day are called, to make an observation in connection with the accident to the steamer [DOT] Grecian.' It seems that Captain Harrison, on coming in to Halifax harbour, availed himself of the services of a pilot. At the port of Halifax it is not compulsory on shipmasters to engage pilots, but they must pay pilotage ; and When a pilot is taken on board, the master of the vessel has the right to depend on him for the management of the ship. Captain Harrison engaged a pilot and gave him charge of the vessel. It is in evidence that he had some misgivings as to whether the pilot was conducting the steamer properly or not, and called his attention to certain matters in the course of navigation. But the pilot assured him that everything was all right, and the result was the ship was run on the rocks. An inquiry was held by a court presided over by Captain Spain. The result of the inquiry was that the court suspended the captain's certificate, apparently because the pilot did not take the ship safely into port, which, on the face of it, would appear to be a most outrageous judgment. The judgment was appealed from by Captain Harrison to the Admiralty Di-Mr. STEWART.
vision of the High Court of Justice in England. I wish to read a portion of the judgment, in order that the hon. the Minister of Marine and Fisheries may see that Captain Harrison has been completely vindicated, and to impress on the hon. gentleman the necessity of doing something In order to secure a more suitable court for the trial of questions of this sort, in which the reputations and livings of honest and honourable men are at stake. The president of the court said :
It appears to be clear that there is no fault seriously to be found with the Master
Everything which was done was done by the advice and under the direction of the pilot himself, and I do not see how it could be otherwise. It is suggested that the captain might have gone and looked at the chart, which means that the captain should have taken charge of the ship. I cannot help thinking that the criticism which my learned brother expressed just now really sums up the whole case. The court below treated the matter as if the captain was in charge himself and as if there was not such advice available as that of the pilot. I confess I am quite unable to take that view. It appears to me that the captain was quite right in allowing the ship to be guided by the advice and under the direction of the pilot.
The judgment of the court goes on to explain that Captain Harrison was free from any blame of any kind in connection with tbe navigation of the ship, and that the first court made a mistake in supposing that the captain was responsible for bringing the ship safely into port and in suspending the certificate of the captain because the pilot was remiss in the performance of his duty. The point I wish to bring before the Minister of Marine is this. If the inquiry had been made by the court at the instance of the boat'd of trade in England and the captain exonerated, his costs would have been paid by the board. By parity of reasoning, he ought now to be reimbursed in some way the costs he has been subjected to in order to vindicate his character and recover his certificate, and I would ask the hon. minister to carefully consider the matter and see whether he cannot discover some way of reimbursing the captain for the very serious expenses to which he has been put, altogether apart from the injury done the reputation lie bore, which was a very high one indeed. I would also ask the hon. minister to consider whether some other tribunal might not be created more competent to weigh evidence and possessed of something besides merely technical marine knowledge.
I beg to move the adjournment of the House.