§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which marine pollution control unit ships were sent to the Rosebay incident; and(a) at what time each was ordered in, (b) at what time each arrived at the scene of the spillage and (c) at what time each began clean-up operations.
§ Mr. McLoughlin
As part of the overall response to the spillage of oil from the Rosebay, arrangements were put in hand by the MPCU at 17.00 on 12 May to locate and charter from commercial sources the nearest specific types of vessel required to mount as soon as possible an operation to mechanically recover oil from the sea surface. Subsequently, a vessel to carry the recovery equipment, the Laila Viking, and a coastal tanker to receive recovered oil, the BP Warrior, located at Great Yarmouth and Milford Haven respectively, were taken on hire with effect from 00.01 on 13 May. A tug at Brixham, the Pendragon B, to deploy the boom associated with the recovery equipment, was taken on hire at 04.00 on 14 May.
The three vessels, which had to work together as a team, arrived at the scene of the incident at 08.10 on 14 May, special heavy duty ship-separating fenders necessary for the operation were towed out from Kingswear and fitted in position by 19.00 on 14 May and final adjustments were then made to the system. Recovery operations began at first light on 15 May.
Further arrangements were started at 11.35 on 14 May to contract another coastal tanker to provide reserve 4W storage space for recovered oil. Esso Tenby was taken on hire when she arrived on scene at 03.00 on 15 May; to date, it has not been necessary to use this vessel in operations.
The Warren Spring laboratory research vessel, Seaspring, a small self-contained tank vessel with an MPCU oil recovery system on board, was activated at 19.38 on 13 May for inshore work. She arrived on scene from Ipswich at 07.45 on 16 May and commenced clean-up operations at 14.42 the same day.