§ Mr. Cohen
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on problems which have arisen with the seabed operations vessel Challenger; by how much the work on this vessel has overrun in(a) time and (b) cost in relation to the original specification; and what claims and counter-claims for compensation have been made by his Department and the contractors, respectively.
§ Mr. Sainsbury
Reasons for the increases in cost to the sea bed operations vessel and delays to its operational date have been detailed in evidence given by the Ministry of Defence to the Public Accounts Committee and published in its 35th report 1984–85 Session and 31st report 1987–88 Session. The appraisal and cost implications of the further slippage mentioned in the latter report are still under consideration.
With regards to claims for compensation, whilst negotiations are continuing with contractors on these, details are commercially confidential.