HC Deb 22 July 1970 vol 804 c522
20. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the President of the Board of Trade what number and tonnage of ships flying the British flag were sold secondhand to overseas owners in 1969; and how far the average price obtained was above that in 1968.

Mr. Corfield

A total of 105 vessels of 831,000 gross tons were sold to overseas shipowners in 1969. Comparable information about average prices is not available.

Mr. Wingfield Digby

Do not the figures show that this is a very good moment for the modernisation of the merchant fleet with newly-built tonnage, and will the Government do what they can to encourage that process in order to get a purely modern merchant fleet?

Mr. Corfield

I am glad to say that this is exactly the reaction of British shipowners. Against the tonnage that was sold and the relatively small amount that was scrapped, no less than 2,741,000 gross tons were added to the British merchant fleet in 1969, most of it modern.