HC Deb 31 October 1957 vol 575 cc109-10W
Mr. H. Wilson

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation to state the carrying capacity of the troopship "Empire Clyde" and of the "Captain Cook"; the total number of Service personnel carried on each vessel to and from Christmas Island between July and September this year; the total cost of the voyage of each ship; and why two ships were used for this operation when one could have carried all the personnel involved.

Mr. Watkinson

The "Captain Cook" and "Empire Clyde" were programmed to call at Christmas Island in August and September, 1957, to embark approximately 1,500 Service personnel due to return to the United Kingdom in two distinct phases.

"Captain Cook", which can carry 905 Service men, is on charter to the New Zealand Government as an emigrant ship and normally returns from New Zetland to the United Kingdom in ballast. By arrangement with the New Zealand Government the ship was diverted to Christmas Island and on 22nd August embarked the 600 who comprised the first phase of the movement. For the use of the ship for this purpose the New Zealand Government were paid £52,500.

"Empire Clyde", which can carry 1,057 Service personnel, left the United Kingdom in ballast on 19th July to cover the second phase of the movement. On the outward voyage 130 Service personnel were embarked at Honolulu for Chrismas Island. After "Empire Clyde" had left the United Kingdom an increase became necessary in the number of men required to be kept at Christmas Island. Consequently only 258 were available there for return. The cost of the round voyage is estimated at £175,000.

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