HL Deb 27 February 1980 vol 405 cc1501-2WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many incidents involving vessels carrying liquefied gas in the seas around the United Kingdom have been reported to the authorities in: (a) the last three years, and (b) the last three months; how have they been dealt with, by whom and at whose expense.


Two casualties only have been reported to the Department of Trade during the period from January 1977 to date, involving vessels carrying liquefied gas cargoes in United Kingdom coastal waters.

The Spanish tanker "Butaseis", carrying a cargo of liquefied butane gas, suffered a fire in the after accommodation, and later in the engine room, while sheltering in Torbay in late December, 1979.

The burning vessel was towed away from land, the fire eventually extinguished, and the vessel then towed to Plymouth for repairs. Assistance was given to the burning ship from several quarters— including a number of other vessels, Ministry of Defence units, and the shore fire authorities. It is emphasised that, although the fire burned for over 36 hours, the safety features of the ship were designed to obviate any risk of an explosion of the cargo.

The Danish tanker "Regitze Tholstrup" ran aground on the Antrim coast on 21st January, 1980. Her cargo of liquefied butane gas was pumped ashore into road tankers while several emergency services stood by both on shore and afloat. Following discharge of her cargo, the vessel was refloated by tug and towed to Belfast for repairs.

The question of reimbursement is a matter for negotiation between the parties concerned in accordance with normal practice relating to assistance rendered to vessels in distress.