HC Deb 30 November 1926 vol 200 cc988-9

asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of ships which have changed from burning coal to oil since the War, together with the tonnage of such vessels; if he can give the number and tonnage of ships built since 1918, together with the number and tonnage, respectively, of those built to burn coal and oil; and can he give the same particulars for ships now under construction?


The answer is a rather long one, and the hon. Member will perhaps agree to its circulation in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give us the number of men displaced by the turnover from coal to oil?


Perhaps the hon. Member will put down a question. I do not know, off-hand, whether there is any formula which can be applied. I very much doubt whether I can give him even an approximate figure. If he kill put down a question, I will see whether there are any figures.


Will the right hon. Gentleman include in the figures those vessels which have been reconverted to coal?


I should like notice of that. I am not sure whether the figures are available perhaps the hon. Member will look at the answer when it is circulated. There are a great many figures in the answer. If he wants any supplementary figures, I will see if I can get them.

Following is the answer to the first Question:

I find from the Annual Report for 1925–26 issued by Lloyd's Register of Shipping that, in July, 1919, the gross tonnage of steamers of 100 tons and over fitted for burning oil fuel was 5,336,678, and that the corresponding figure for July, 1926, was 18,243,539. The latter figure represents the tonnage of 3,576 vessels, including a number in which the oil-burning equipment can be readily replaced on occasion by coal-burning fittings. I am unable to give the corresponding number for July, 1919, or the number and tonnage of the vessels in which a change of fittings may have been made during the period between the dates specified. The number of motor ships, including auxiliary screw vessels, which was 912 of 752,606 gross tons in July, 1919, rose to 2,343 of 3,493,284 gross tons in July, 1926, the increase being mainly due to new construction.

The Report in question also shows that the vessels built to Lloyd's class during the seven years included 6,487,412 gross tons built to be propelled by the medium of coal only, and 8,567,512 gross tons for oil fuel, including 1,642,442 gross tons of motor ships. The figures available relating to the totals of vessels constructed during the earlier years of the period are not exhaustive, but not less than 7,000 vessels, with an aggregate tonnage of somewhat over 22,500,000 gross tons were built. Of 477 vessels of 1,850,697 gross tons reported as under construction on 30th September, 171 vessels of 869,509 gross tons were motor-ships. I am, however, unable to state either the number or the tonnage of the steam vessels which are intended for propulsion by means of oil fuel.