HC Deb 21 February 1966 vol 725 c42W
Sir R. Thompson

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware of the increased mortality among sea birds due to oil pollution of the sea; and if he will take steps to prevent this slaughter.

Mr. Mason

My right hon. Friend is deeply concerned at the suffering caused to sea birds by pollution of the sea by oil. The discharge of oil into the seas surrounding our coasts is an offence under the Oil in Navigable Waters Act, 1955. He takes a grave view of such offences and has asked the Navy and Air Force Departments and all British airlines to report to him any evidence of such offences their officers may see in the course of their duty. Wherever practicable the offenders are prosecuted. Offences by foreign vessels are reported to their Governments.

At the request of my right hon. Friend the Chamber of Shipping has asked its members to remind their officers of their duty to comply with the Act, and I understand that steps are also being taken by the Chamber to bring the matter again to the attention of foreign shipowners.

I am also in close touch with the Advisory Committee on Oil Pollution of the Sea, whose President is my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and whose Chairman is the Earl Jellicoe.