HC Deb 06 July 1987 vol 119 cc17-8W
Mr. MacDonald

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what plans Her Majesty's Government have to arrest the annual decline in the registered tonnage of the British merchant fleet.

Mr. David Mitchell

The Government's interest is twofold: first, to ensure adequate merchant shipping resources to meet the country's need in emergency or war. Plans for this include new measures aimed at encouraging the retention of British seafarers on British-owned vessels.

Second, to help the competitive position of the United Kingdom merchant shipping fleet, a number of important initiatives have been taken at the level of the EEC and on a wider international basis, aimed at providing improved access to trading opportunities.