§ Sir David Price
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if, further to his reply of 13 March,Official Report, columns 120–1, he will list the names of the small number of roll-on/roll off passenger ferries built before 1980, where modification is not a realistic proposition and the names of their owners; and when in each case they plan to withdraw them from service.
§ Mr. Portillo
All 73 pre-1980 ferries in use at the moment comply fully with the current international convention for safety of life at sea (SOLAS). The Sheen report recommended that a higher standard of stability in the damaged condition should be applied to these ships. The majority of the ships which did not comply with this higher standard have been, or will be, modified by their owners to achieve compliance.
The owners have made known the names of the ships for which we understand modification is not a realistic proposition. These are (registered owner's name in brackets):
- Darnia—(James Fisher & Sons Ltd.)
- Earl Granville—(W & G Industrial Leasing Ltd.)
- Earl Harold—(Sealink UK Ltd.)
- Tynwald—(Sealink UK Ltd.)
- St. Ola—(P & O Ferries Ltd.)
- Pride of Canterbury—(P & O European Ferries (Dover) Ltd.)
- Pride of Hythe—(P & O European Ferries (Dover) Ltd.)
Initial indications are that the owners will not retain these ships for more than about another three years. Discussions on that continue.