HC Deb 07 March 1962 vol 655 cc389-90
27. Captain Litchfield

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty whether he will make a statement about the two dry cargo freighters now being built for service in the Royal Navy.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

These ships are 4,700 tons dead weight with a service speed of 15 knots. They are being built by H. Robb and Company, Leith, to the order of the British India Steam Navigation Company, which will charter them to the Admiralty. The first ship, "Hebe", was launched today. The second ship, "Bacchus", is to be launched in May.

Captain Litchfield

Does not my hon. Friend feel that the speed of these ships is much too slow for modern times?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

We are not talking about first-line ships. In this case, there is less need for speed and we must balance that need with economy.

Mr. Willis

What proportion of the very large increase in Vote 8 expenditure for this year is attributable to the four ships mentioned in this Question and in the previous Question?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

None under Vote A. because they will be manned by Royal Fleet Auxiliary civilians.

Mr. Willis

What expenditure is involved under Vote 8?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

I cannot answer that. I have not the necessary papers with me. No doubt that point will be raised in Committee on the Navy Estimates. I shall be glad to answer it then.

Sir J. Maitland

Can my hon. Friend say who will man these ships? Will they be manned by the Royal Navy or by the R.F.A.?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

They will be manned by R.F.A. civilians.