HC Deb 22 December 1983 vol 51 cc397-8W
Mr. Warren

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if the Government will secure the deployment of the necessary hydrographic services to ensure the safe movement of large laden oil tankers into British ports; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Mitchell

The rolling programme forcarrying out hydrographic surveys to meet civil requirements, which is established in consultation with navigational interests including the General Council of British Shipping and the British Ports Association, has particular regard for the movement of deep draught tankers around our coast. In 1983 important surveys were carried out along the west coast of Scotland and in the approaches to the Shetland Islands and the Orkney Islands, having regard for the oil tanker traffic in these areas. Further surveys are planned for 1984 including the area of Lyme Bay where tanker lightening operations take place.

Substantial ship resources have been made available for the civil programme and in 1983 these resources have included ships from the RN survey flotilla, a chartered civilian manned ship with an RN survey party on board, and commercial survey companies working under the supervision of the hydrographer of the navy. It is expected that similar resources will be deployed in 1984.

Hydrographic surveys within statutory port limits are generally the responsibility of the port and harbour authorities concerned.

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