§ Lord Kennet
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether P&O and/or Sealink ferries are to be designated to be taken up from trade for use by the Ministry of Defence in the event of war or emergency; and whether the Ministry of Defence has taken part in evaluating the stability and general safety of all the ferries operating in the Channel including RO-RO ferries and, if so, whether they are satisfied that those ferries can safely carry troops and equipment, and if not what steps, and at whose expense, they are taking to ensure that these vessels will be made stable and safe, and by when.
§ The Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Lord Trefgarne)
Any United Kingdom vessel is liable to be considered for military use in the event of war or emergency. The Ministry of Defence has no involvement in matters of safety and stability of commercially-operated passenger ferries in peacetime. This is the responsibility of the Department of Transport. However, it is normal practice to ensure that all ships including ferries which are taken up by the MoD are properly certified and suited for the purpose intended.