HC Deb 12 April 1927 vol 205 cc162-3
4. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether any further steps have been taken, or are in contemplation, for the prevention of the discharge of fuel-oil from steamships near our coasts; if he is aware of the urgency of this matter as affecting fish life and the amenities of the coast; and whether agreement has been reached as to international action being taken to deal with this evil?


As stated in reply to previous questions, the Government have accepted in principle the recommendations of the International Conference on Oil Pollution held at Washington last year, and the United States Government have been informed to this effect. When a sufficient number of States have accepted these recommendations, it is anticipated that they will be embodied in an International Agreement, which will then be put into force by legislation in each of the Maritime States concerned. Shipowners of this country voluntarily adopted the recommendations of the Conference in December last, and gave the necessary instructions to the masters of their ships. I understand that similar action has been taken in the United States and in Holland. I am arranging for a return to be obtained and the results published as a White Paper, supplementing that issued in June, 1925. I hope to issue this shortly, and I understand that the information so far collected tends to show that the position on our coasts has much improved since 1924.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many States have ratified, and does he anticipate that all the States will ratify at any early date?


It is not merely a question of ratification. I hope it may be possible to get the Convention drafted and agreed to without further diplomatic meetings. That will save time. India and the United States have been informed that we should agree to the proposal. In anticipation of international action, this country, Holland and the United States have already taken action and are carrying it out.