HC Deb 17 July 1963 vol 681 cc524-5
46. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Transport how many shipyards in Great Britain are now fully equipped for the building of ships for the carriage of methane gas; which they are; and what steps he is taking to increase the number of British shipyards so equipped.

Mr. Galbraith

Two yards are building methane tankers at present: Harland & Wolff's at Belfast and Vickers-Armstrong's at Barrow. It is for the shipbuilders themselves to decide whether to equip their yards for building vessels of this type, but I understand that a number of yards could readily be adapted.

Mr. Hughes

Why are none of these contracts going to Aberdeen yards, which are particularly suitable for that kind of work, and where there is much unemployment? Will the hon. Gentleman, in conjunction with the President of the Board of Trade and other relevant Ministers, get cracking on this matter, to see that Aberdeen gets its fair share?

Mr. Galbraith

As the hon. and learned Gentleman probably knows, I had the benefit of visiting the yards at Aberdeen, but I think that this type of ship could more readily be built at yards accustomed to building passenger ships and tankers. That, at the moment, does not, I think, apply to the Aberdeen yards.

Mr. McMaster

Is my hon. Friend aware that the needs of the Belfast yards are at least as severe as those at Aberdeen?

Mr. Galbraith

If my hon. Friend had listened to my Answer, he would have realised that at least one of these ships is being built at Belfast.

Mr. Monslow

Would not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that the reason why these yards are now doing the work is that they have the finest craftsmen in the world?

Mr. Galbraith

As a Clydesider, I do not know that I necessarily agree.

Back to