HL Deb 04 February 1980 vol 404 cc1146-8WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In relation to the Experimental Scheme for the Reporting-in of Tankers and Other Ships carrying Dangerous Cargoes in the Channel:

  1. (a) what proportion of vessels entering the Channel have reported hazardous cargoes since the Scheme began;
  2. (b) what cargoes these have been;
  3. (c) whether any vessels thought to be carrying hazardous cargoes have refused to divulge the nature of their cargo, and if so how many;
  4. (d) what was the Flag State of the vessels referred to in Question (c) above;
  5. 1147
  6. (e) how many vessels carrying dangerous cargoes have failed to obey the traffic rules in the Channel;
  7. (f) how many such vessels have been prosecuted by the French and by the British authorities, how many have been reported to their Flag State, and in each case, with what result.


The trials of a voluntary Anglo-French ship movement reporting system in the English channel commenced on 1st January 1979. The following information is based on reports that have been made by vessels passing through the Dover Strait during 1979:

  1. (a) Some 4,200 reports have been made by loaded oil tankers, gas and chemical carriers of 1600 gross registered tonnage and over. While up-to-date statistics are not available on the numbers of vessels passing through the Dover Strait it is estimated that this total represents about 60 per cent. of all vessels that have been invited to make reports.
  2. (b) Cargoes reported have covered a wide range of oil, chemical and gas products, including crude oil, fuel oil, gas oil, naphtha, jet fuel, butane, ethylene, LNG, LPG, methanol, toluene, propylene and sulphur.
  3. (c) and (d) No cases are known of vessels refusing to divulge the nature of their cargo.
  4. (e) In 1979 there was a total of nearly 1500 (124 UK registered ships) identified contraventions in the Dover Strait of Rule 10 of the International Collision Regulations. 57 (1 UK registered ship) were by oil tankers and gas carriers.
  5. (f)
    1. (i) Prosecutions are for the Flag State and offenders are reported to their own Administrations. Matters relating to the mounting or prosecutions by the French authorities (i.e. for contravention on the French side of the Dover Strait) are the concern of that Administration.
    2. (ii) The master of the UK ship referred to at (e) has not been prosecuted. So far for this period 3 prosecutions have been mounted against the masters of UK ships other than oil, chemical and gas carriers.
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    4. (iii) Contraventions involving 14 foreign Flag Ships have been reported to their Flag State by the United Kingdom authorities. Details of the action taken by the Flag State in each case are not yet available. No prosecutions have been reported but in two cases the Flag State is satisfied with the explanation of the master.