HC Deb 27 November 1946 vol 430 cc1598-9
33. Mr. A. Edward Davies

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster the number, description and total tonnage of German ships in the British zone; how many are seaworthy; and what is being done with them.

Mr. J. Hynd

A census of German seagoing shipping has recently been taken but the results are not yet available. Before the census we had, however, traced over 400 merchant ships of over 100 tons intended for the German peace economy. These vessels are with a few exceptions in the British zone. They consist mainly of cargo vessels but include a few special types such as cattle transports and refrigerator ships. Their total tonnage is some 160,000 dead weight tons. Forty are at present unseaworthy. The remainder are being used for German coastal traffic and on certain short sea routes. There are in addition some 1425 fishing vessels of various kinds, all of which are engaged in fishing or minesweeping operations.

Mr. Davies

Is the Minister aware that a report appeared in the Press that 964 boats have recently been discovered? Is this true, and, if so, is there not something wrong with our method of building up the industry?

Mr. Hynd

I thought I had made it clear that we are not in a position yet to give the complete results of the census, but before the census was taken we had traced over 400.