§ Mr. Speller
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cases have been reported in each of the last five years of ships cleaning their tanks or discharging ships' refuse into the Bristol channel; how many prosecutions have been brought; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. David Mitchell
It is not in itself an offence for ships to clean their tanks in the Bristol channel, or, at present, to discharge ships' garbage into the sea although regulations on this are being prepared. A discharge into the sea of oil or other noxious liquid substances after tank cleaning would be an offence. The numbers of sightings of oil or noxious liquid substances in the Bristol channel reported to the marine pollution control unit are as follows:
Number 1985 0 1986 0 1987 3 11988 3 1 To date.
Earlier figures are not readily available as none of the reports identified a particular ship as being responsible for the discharge no prosecution could be brought.