§ Mr. Portillo
I have been asked to reply.
The container, lost while under tow by a French ship to Cherbourg, was thought to be about 25 km north-west of the Cap de la Hague. The French authorities, who are responsible for co-ordinating counter-pollution operations in that area of the Channel, have carried out an intensive but unsuccessful search for it using both surface vessels and a submersible. That special search has now been called off on the basis of a joint Anglo/French scientific assessment of the pollution threat which concluded that the physical nature of the lindane, the packaging, depth of water in which the container was lost, water currents and other factors, are such that the likelihood of contamination is much less than at first feared.
In the process of normal training and exercises, the French Navy will continue to look for the missing container. The French authorities also continue to carry out an intensive programme of sampling and analysis of seawater and fish.