§ 80. Mr. Awbery
asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that 18 vessels registered in Panama and flying the Panamanian flag have been captured by Chinese Communists, and that the majority of these vessels were owned by British companies; and what steps he is taking to prevent the use of the Panamanian flag in these circumstances.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I have seen Press reports of a statement made by the Panamanian Consul-General in Hong Kong as to a number of Panamanian ships having had their registry cancelled because they were trading with China. None of these ships are on our register and I have no information which would lead me to think that the ownership of any of them was such as to entitle them to be registered under the Merchant Shipping Acts as British ships and to fly the British flag. The last part of the Question does not, therefore, arise.