HC Deb 01 February 1982 vol 17 cc12-3W
Mr. Dover

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he will make a statement on the outcome of the second ministerial conference on maritime safety which took place in Paris on 26 January.

Mr. Sproat

The second conference on Maritime Safety was attended by representatives of 14 European States, the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (IMCO), the International Labour Office (ILO) and the Commission of the European Communities.

Amongst other matters, the conference reviewed the progress made since the first meeting in December 1980 on the acceptance, approval or ratification of the several international conventions relating to maritime safety, the prevention of pollution and living and working conditions on board ship. It was noted that a number of States, the United Kingdom included, had now adopted all the relevant instruments and that in the case of the other States participating, considerable progress had been made towards that objective.

The main achievement of the conference, however, was the adoption and signature of a memorandum of understanding on port State control establishing with effect from 1 July 1982, a harmonised and co-ordinated system for the inspection of foreign ships calling at European ports, for the purpose of detecting those which fail to meet the standards laid down in international conventions, securing the rectification of deficiencies and discouraging the operation of such vessels.

In approving the arrangements on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, I made it clear that we would be ready to implement the new system immediately and in full from the date of operation and that we expected to achieve in 1982 a volume of inspections very close to the total prescribed for the United Kingdom by the memorandum, even though formally we are not required to do so until the end of an initial three year period.

I have placed a copy of the English text of the final declaration of the conference and of the memorandum in the Library.