HC Deb 12 May 1952 vol 500 cc77-8W
54. Sir J. Lucas

asked the Minister of Transport if he is satisfied that measures taken at the Esso Refinery, Fawley, will prevent further pollution by oil of the beaches in the Portsmouth and Isle of Wight areas; and what complaints have been received during the last few months.

55. Sir P. Macdonald

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware of the nuisance and damage caused by oil pollution in the Solent between the Isle of Wight and the mainland due to the discharge of oil from tankers and other vessels using these waters; and what steps are being taken to stop this nuisance which is causing damage to yachting and other facilities in the Solent.

Mr. Braithwaite

Since the beginning of the year we have received eight complaints about oil pollution in and around the Solent, all of which have been or are being investigated. Six of these complaints were subsequent to an incident which occurred at Fawley on 13th April when oil escaped from a separating tank. The Esso Petroleum Company state that the discharge was due to the failure of one of their employees to comply with the Company's instructions and that he has been dismissed. We are also informed that they are taking steps which will prevent any similar occurrence in future. The discharge was within the limits of jurisdiction of the Southampton Harbour Board and we understand that the Board are considering what further action, if any, should be taken.

Masters and chief engineers of ships entering United Kingdom Waters are warned that it is an offence under the Oil in Navigable Waters Act to discharge oil into our territorial waters. If satisfactory evidence of an offence is obtained my right hon. Friend will have no hesitation in instituting proceedings. Inside a harbour, however, proceedings can be instituted only by the harbour authority.

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