15 MAY 1941, Page 3

k Pool of Seamen IT,: monthly returns of losses at

sea are the bare statistical outlille of a situation whose human realities will never for a moment be forgotten. Life at sea for all the seamen of the friercdntile marine is life in the most active part of the front foe. Their work is as essential and as dangerous as that of the Royal Navy. Part of the solution of the shipping scarcity lies in quickness of turn-round of ships in port—that concerns the dockers—and the availability of crews at the right moment, which is a matter for seamen. To meet the needs of the service and of the men a new charter has been devised by the sational Maritime Board, and its provisions have been incor- porated in an Order issued by the Minister of Labour. The essence of the scheme lies in the creation of a Merchant Navy Reserve Pool of officers and men available for appointment to ships and for relief duty in port. On the one hand seamen are prevented from leaving their employment under the Essen- tial Works Order, and men who have left the sea since 1936 are required to register ; on the other the men will gain materially by receiving wages while awaiting work, continuity of employment, and longer leave on pay. Thus the mercantile marine will now require continuous service, and the men can be passed on as required from one ship to another. It is well that this moment should have been chosen for paying atten- tion to better welfare-services at sea in this country, and in ports of call abroad.