HC Deb 08 February 1966 vol 724 cc192-3
26. Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Minister of Technology what progress has been made in developing flexible types of seagoing vessels and capsulation methods of transporting liquids in bulk.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Technology (Mr. Richard Marsh)

An articulated ship has been devised by a firm of naval architects. The National Research Development Corporation recently announced its willingness to consider sharing the cost of development of this ship as a joint venture if a suitable industrial partner can be found. N.R.D.C. has for some years been supporting the development of dracones, flexible containers that can be towed on water and used for the bulk transportation of liquids. Dracones are already in production and are operating successfully in several parts of the world.

Mrs. Short

I thank my hon. Friend for that full and interesting reply. My hon. Friend made it clear that there are proposals which will revolutionise turn-round at the ports. Will he bear in mind that, on these benches at least, we expect that the nation as a whole will gain whatever benefits accrue from public money invested in these schemes and the work carried out at N.P.L.? May I ask—

Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Lady must make her questions shorter.

Mrs. Short

Would my hon. Friend explain what dracones are? I am sure that the House would be interested to know.

Mr. Marsh

Dracones are flexible containers used for the transportation of liquids and, in some cases, grain. They are usually made of nylon fabric coated with synthetic rubber or some similar substance. [Interruption.] Both sides of the House are interested in progress in this sphere, though one side happens to be rather better at it than the other. An interesting possibility of this development is the articulated ship, which would produce a situation in which cargo could be uncoupled from the after end in port, so expediting turn-round.