HC Deb 28 November 1956 vol 561 cc398-9
29. Commander Maitland

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what plans he has for enabling British ports to provide all facilities for the giant tankers now being contemplated.

Mr. Watkinson

The oil companies and the other interests responsible for providing facilities are well aware of present trends in tanker construction and are, I understand, planning developments to meet them.

Commander Maitland

Can my right hon. Friend assure me that the Government are taking a lead in bringing the various interests together in this matter, and can he say whether any progress is being made in improving facilities at Milford Haven?

Mr. Watkinson

In that specific case I think it is correct to say that the Government, and particularly my Department, have given a lead, where possible, to help in bringing the parties together.

53. Sir J. Hutchison

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation how many ports in Great Britain have facilities for discharging tankers of a deadweight capacity of 35,000 tons and 70,000 tons, respectively.

Mr. Profumo

There are facilities for discharging loaded tankers with a deadweight capacity of 35,000 tons at Finnart on the Clyde, at Fawley, at the Isle of Grain, at Thameshaven and at Coryton. There are at present no ports capable, without modification, of discharging a fully loaded tanker of 70,000 tons.

Sir J. Hutchison

In view of the tendency for the size of tankers to go on increasing, thereby avoiding the necessity to go through the Suez Canal because they find it cheaper to go round the Cape, is it not necessary that this country should be properly provided with ports that can handle this traffic?

Mr. Profumo

Yes, Sir, but broadly speaking that is a responsibility of the oil industry and the port authorities. My right hon. Friend is in the closest consultation with both.

Mr. Woodburn

Has not Loch Long these facilities for unloading tankers, although it has not port facilities?

Mr. Profumo

I do not think that it has facilities for the size of tanker referred to in the Question.

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