HC Deb 17 March 1936 vol 310 cc219-20

asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of mercantile ships and their total tonnage which were sold to foreign countries for use during the past four years; how many were sold to be broken up as scrapping; and how many of those for use and scrapping, respectively, were over 10,000 tons?


The number of mercantile ships of 100 tons gross and upwards registered at ports in the United Kingdom, the registers of which were reported to the Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen as having been closed on account of sale to foreigners during the four years ended 31st December, 1935, was 709 of 2,732,000 tons gross. According to information obtained by the

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

I have no record of the number of orders for vessels placed in Germany by British firms during the last three years, but I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate a table in the OFFICIAL REPORT showing the steam and motor ships of 100 tons gross and over given in the returns of the Registrar-General of Shipping as having been built in Germany since the beginning of 1933 and subsequently registered in the United Kingdom. The returns of the Registrar-General contain no information regarding the cost of these vessels.

Following is the table:

Registrar-General, 185 of these vessels, with a total gross tonnage of 1,072,000 tons, were sold for breaking up. Included in this total are 12 vessels of over 10,000 tons gross. The remaining 524 vessels of 1,660,000 tons gross, including nine vessels of over 10,000 tons gross, were sold presumably for trading.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say why these ships are not broken up in this country?


A certain number are broken up here, but the reason why they have been sold abroad is because of the higher prices obtainable.