HC Deb 10 April 1957 vol 568 cc1113-4
6 Sir. H. Roper

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation (1) what progress has been made towards the complete avoidance of the discharge of persistent oils into the sea as envisaged by the international conference which considered the matter in 1954;

(2) when another international conference is to be held further to consider measures to prevent the pollution of the sea by oil;

(3) which nations have now signed the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, 1954.

Mr. Watkinson

Before the Convention of 1954 comes into operation ratification is required by 10 countries, including 5 with at least 500,000 gross tons of tanker tonnage. Eight countries, of which 4 have the requisite tanker tonnage, have already ratified and a number of other countries have legislation in preparation to enable them to do so.

The countries which have ratified the Convention are the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Irish Republic, Mexico, Norway and Sweden.

It is preferable not to convene a further international conference until the Convention has come into force and we have had some experience of its operation.

Sir H. Roper

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that very satisfactory Answer, and his Department and he himself and his predecessors for the interest taken in this matter, may I ask whether I should be correct in saying that this country is far ahead of other countries in tackling this problem; and can he say in what countries which have not yet ratified the Convention legislation has been initiated which we may hope will result in the ratifying of the Convention?

Mr. Watkinson

I think that we are giving a lead in this matter and that the best thing that I can say is that I hope that before long enough countries will ratify to enable the Convention to come into effect.

Mr. Awbery

In view of the serious damage done to bird life and the heavy cost to local authorities in cleansing the oil from the beaches, will not the tight hon. Gentleman take steps to make compulsory the installation of oil separators in all oil-burning and oil-carrying vessels?

Mr. Watkinson

That matter arises on a later Question.