HC Deb 06 November 1978 vol 957 cc48-9W
Mr. Molloy

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he expects to report to Parliament concerning the total cost to public funds of the oil spillage and related problems brought about by the foundering of the "Christos Bitas".

Mr. Clinton Davis

It is too early to say when the full costs of the Government's anti-pollution operation will be known. Although this expenditure will initially be met from public funds, we shall claim reimbursement of the whole amount from the shipowner under the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution) Act 1971, which implements in the United Kingdom the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1969, and, if necessary, under the oil industry's voluntary scheme, the Contract Regarding an Interim Supplement to Tanker Liability for Oil Pollution—CRISTAL.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if, in addition to the official inquiry into the circumstances in which the tanker "Christos Bitas" went on the rocks off the Pembrokeshire coast, he will also hold an inquiry into the subsequent salvage and anti-pollution operations and publish a report on the lessons learned, and ensure that the inquiry investigates and comments on the availability in the United Kingdom and the suitability of (a) heavy-duty pumps for the discharge of oil cargo, (b) compressors suitable for marine salvage operations, (c) chemical dispersants, (d) oil pollution booms and spraying equipment, and (e) tugs or other vessels equipped for antipollution work.

Mr. Clinton Davis

A report on this salvage and anti-pollution operation will be published shortly. The specific matters referred to will be covered either in this report or in reports on studies set in hand following tanker casualties earlier this year.

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