HC Deb 13 January 1992 vol 201 c502W
Mr. Spearing

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his written answer to the hon. Member for Battersea, 19 December,Official Report, column 237, what form the proposed inquiry into safety of vessels on rivers and inland waterways will take and under what statute; what incidents other than that concerning the Marchioness have been drawn to his attention; what is the name and qualifications of the expert adviser; and what are Mr. John Hayes's qualifications, other than legal, for conducting the inquiry.

Mr. McLoughlin

Mr. Hayes's inquiry is an independent investigation which is not bound by statutory provisions or procedures. The precise conduct and form of the inquiry is a matter for Mr. Hayes, but departmental papers are being made available to him and he will shortly be inviting views from interested parties.

So far, the following accidents on the River Thames have been specifically drawn to Mr. Hayes' attention by the Department:

Collision between Date
Bowtrader and Hurlingham 18 October 1981
Shell Distributor and New Southern Belle 8 June 1983
Bowbelle and Pride of Greenwich 9 June 1983
Shell Distributor and Royalty 1 September 1983
Rosewood and John Marriott 14 September 1986
Vita and Fordson 29 September 1986

The expert adviser will be appointed shortly, and his name and qualifications will be announced at that time. Mr. Hayes will bring to the inquiry the important attributes of an independent mind and a distinguished record as a solicitor in local government.

Mr. Spearing

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what distinction he is making on the modified requirements in hull design and construction between vessels operating in tidal waters and those on shallow canals and non-tidal rivers of limited depth and width, consequent on the action he has taken in response to the report of his marine accident investigation branch into the Marchioness disaster.

Mr. McLoughlin

The modified requirements for hull design and construction which are being developed, in consultation with industry, will make a clear distinction between vessels operating in tidal waters, those operating in the sheltered non-tidal reaches of rivers operating on shallow rivers and canals. In general a higher standard of survivability, in the event of hull damage, will be required in tidal waters whilst other requirements will apply to vessels operating in shallow waters such as canals.

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