HL Deb 14 December 1987 vol 491 cc590-1WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are discussing with the British shipping industry the desirability of making use of the Great Circle Route to the Far East through the Arctic, whether any British ships are appropriately ice-strengthened to make use of the route, and what is their view of the desirability of making use of Soviet ice-breakers to assist the journey, as proposed by Mr. Gorbachev in his 1st October speech at Murmansk.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

Information as to whether any of the ice-strengthened vessels on the British register would be suitable to cope with the particularly difficult and variable conditions likely to be found on the Great Circle Route of the Arctic is not available. However, it is essentially a matter for the commercial judgment of British shipping companies as to whether and how best to pursue any commercial opportunities that may exist, including whether to use Soviet ice-breakers.