HC Deb 21 October 1942 vol 383 cc1959-60
35. Mr. Keeling

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport whether he will take steps to prevent the crews of merchant ships from throwing waste overboard and thereby leaving a trail for the enemy to follow; and whether facilities are provided at all ports for them to dump material valuable as salvage?

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of War Transport (Mr. Noel-Baker)

Strict orders are given by the Admiralty that no waste must be thrown overboard which would be likely to leave behind any track visible to enemy aircraft or submarines. In all the important ports in the United Kingdom there are schemes for the collection and disposal of salvage material from ship. The working of these schemes is being closely watched by my Ministry and the Ministry of Supply. I am sending my hon. Friend copies of the latest instructions on the subject. They were issued by my Ministry in August and September of this year, and are the last of a series, which began in August, 1940.

Mr. Keeling

Has my hon. Friend seen the comments last week of the stipendiary magistrate at Salford to the effect that the lack of facilities for ships to discharge material valuable as salvage is shockingly wasteful?

Mr. Noel-Baker

If instructions from headquarters could produce a satisfactory scheme, I think we should have that scheme. I am looking into the evidence which the hon. Member has sent me and I hope that improvements will result.

Captain Poole

What happens to material other than salvage material in the ports, as there must be an enormous accumulation on the ships during their stay in the ports? How do they dispose of that?

Mr. Noel-Baker

I think there is no danger at sea resulting from that.