HC Deb 16 July 1997 vol 298 cc225-6W
Mr. Ainger

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will publish the report of the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents into the grounding and subsequent salvage of the tanker 'Sea Empress' at Milford Haven in February 1996. [9308]

Mr. John Prescott

I am publishing the report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch on the grounding and subsequent salvage of the tanker Sea Empress at Milford Haven between 15 and 21 February 1996 today. A copy has been placed in the Library and will be distributed by the Stationery Office. The report is open for public comment for a period of six weeks. Thereafter, the Government will issue a detailed response to the report. In the meantime, I have asked my officials to begin a review of the 1987 Pilotage Act. I have also asked Lord Donaldson of Lymington to conduct an independent review of salvage and intervention operations and their command and control, having satisfied himself that the Marine Accident Investigation Branch's report provides a reasonable basis for his review. Lord Donaldson's review will form part of the Government's ongoing review of the National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution. The detailed terms of reference of these reviews will be announced later.