§ Lord Selsdon
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many British-registered commercial vessels, fishing vessels and yachts there are in each of the following groups: (a) over 100 feet length overall (b) 50 to 100 feet length overall (c) under 50 feet length overall; and
How many British-flagged vessels are beneficially owned by non-British nationals or foreign institutions or corporations; and
What rights, protection, privileges and benefits are available to British-flagged vessels and what obligations and duties may be imposed upon them.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen)
I have asked the Chief Executive of the Marine Safety Agency, Mr. Robin Bradley, to write to my noble friend.97WA
Letter to Lord Selsdon from the Chief Executive of the Marine Safety Agency, Mr. Robin Bradley, dated 22nd July 1996.
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your Questions about the numbers of British-registered vessels of various categories and about the numbers of British-registered vessels owned by non-British nationals or foreign institutions or organisations. He has also asked me to reply to your Question about the rights, protection, privileges and benefits available to British registered vessels and the obligations and duties which may be imposed on them.
The numbers of British registered commercial ships, fishing vessels and yachts within certain categories has been obtained from the Registry of Shipping and Seamen (RSS). The information you have requested is shown below in tabular form, for your ease of reference. Please note that the figures for merchant vessels and yachts are approximated numbers.
Overall length Commercial ships Fishing vessels Yachts 100 feet and over 2,290 230 449 50 to 100 feet 440 1,210 3,500 50 feet and under 2,080 7,004 72,200
I am unable to inform you of the number of ships which are beneficially owned by non-British nationals or foreign institutions or corporations, as this information is not maintained by the RSS. The issue of eligibility for registration is complex, and I enclose the Marine Safety Agency booklet which refers to registration.
British registered ships are subject to the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. The Act and the associated regulations ensure that the ships comply with the various international maritime conventions on safety and prevention of pollution to which the UK is a signatory. The main benefits of British registration are the protection of the Royal Navy and the availability of advice and assistance from all UK diplomatic posts.