Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The statement on the following page gives the number and tonnage of all steam vessels and sailing vessels which entered or cleared in the five important ports of India with cargo or in ballast in 1929-30. As the table indicates, the great bulk of the tonnage is registered outside India, particularly in Great Britain. The steamers registered in India form about 5% of the total tonnage cleared at the main ports and represent, for the most part, small craft. Some evidence was tendered to us regarding the conditions of labour at sea on ships registered outside British India. We recognise the importance of such questions, but they do not come within our terms of reference and we must leave their consideration to the Governments concerned. We have, however, regarded it as our duty to consider the conditions affecting seamen while on shore, and particularly the control of their recruitment. The recruitment of Indian seamen is at present virtually confined to the ports of Calcutta and Bombay. When seamen are required to fill vacancies at other ports, they are sent from these two principal ports. During the three years from 1926-27 to 1928-29, the average number of seamen engaged in Calcutta, was 58, 300 a year and in Bombay 34, 600. The crew on board the larger ships works in three groups—the deck crew, the engine-room crew and the saloon crew. The deck crew and the engine-room crew work under serangs responsible to the Chief Officer and the Chief Engineer respectively, and the saloon crew under a butler responsible to the Purser or Chief Steward. With the exception of a proportion of Goans in the saloon crews, the Calcutta crews consist of Bengali Musalmans, and come principally from Eastern Bengal. The Bombay deck crews come from various parts of the West Coast, some crews being Hindus and others Musalmans. The engine-room crews are Musalmans, many of whom come from the Punjab and the North-West Frontier Province to serve the P. and 0. Steam Navigation Company. The saloon crews are mainly Goans by origin. For many years all persons, with the exception of Shipping Masters, owners, masters and mates of ships or regular servants of owners have been prohibited from engaging or supplying seamen unless they have been specially licensed for the purpose.
Total shipping of the five principal ports of India in 1929-30.