§ Mr. Bowis
[holding answer 4 March 1997]: All ferries operating to and from UK ports comply with the relevant survivability standard which applies to them. The SOLAS 90—safety of life at sea—standard was being phased in on a timescale ending in 2007. That standard and timescale have now been superseded by the Stockholm agreement, which requires a higher standard phased in on a much shorter timescale, ending in 2002. At least 35 per cent. of all seagoing ro-ro passenger ferries operating to and from United Kingdom ports already meet the SOLAS 90 standard.
§ Mr. Bowis
[holding answer 4 March 1997]: The Government have no plans to publish a list of ferries related to the SOLAS 90 survivability standard alone. New regulations come into force on 1 April to implement the Stockholm agreement on ferry safety, which sets a survivability standard higher than SOLAS 90. Under the regulations, all ferries operating regular scheduled international services to or from United Kingdom ports, and on UK domestic routes where conditions are 145W comparable to those on international voyages, will be required to meet the SOLAS 90 survivability standard and have the ability to resist capsize with up to half a metre of water on the car deck. We shall be publishing a list in April showing the dates by which individual ferries must comply with this new higher standard. Some vessels operating to United Kingdom ports already meet that standard.
§ Mr. Bowis
[holding answer 6 March 1997]: The Government are implementing the Stockholm agreement by the Merchant Shipping (Ro-Ro Passenger Ship Survivability) Regulations 1997 which will come into force on 1 April. We will publish an updated list of ferries operating to and from UK ports once the regulations come into force, which will clearly indicate the compliance date for each ferry.
The timescale for implementation agreed internationally means that those ferries further from standard must be modified sooner than those closer to it. The regulations provide that those ferries furthest from the standard must comply with it not later than at their first periodical survey following 1 April 1997. There is a duty on shipowners to ensure that their ships comply by the relevant deadline in each case and the regulations contain penalties for non-compliance.
§ Mr. Bowis
[holding answer 4 March 1997]: The Marine Accident Investigation Branch, which was established in 1989, investigates accidents to United Kingdom ships or other vessels in United Kingdom territorial waters. If appropriate, a report of the investigation is published. There have been five published reports of investigations of accidents involving ferries since 1989, as follows:
Nature of accident Ferry company Date of accident Grounding Sealink 19 September 1989 Fatal accident North Sea Ferries 5 February 1992 Fire Sally Line 25 August 1994 Machinery damage P and O European Ferries 25 September 1994 Stranding Stena Line 19 September 1995
Other accidents to ferries which have been subject to inspectors' investigations since the establishment of MAIB's database in 1991 are listed hereafter.
Nature of accident Ferry company Date of accident Fire Sealink Stena 23 March 1991 Loss of cargo Swedish Gulf Shipping 4 May 1991
Nature of accident Ferry company Date of accident Fatal accident P and O European Ferries 20 June 1991 Collision Wightlink Ltd. 30 June 1991 Machinery failure Hoverspeed Ltd. 4 October 1991 Fire Sally Line Ltd. 20 October 1991 Collision P and O European Ferries 8 December 1991 Accident to person Caledonian MacBrayne 31 March 1992 Collision North Sea Ferries 10 April 1992 Collision P and O European Ferries 8 June 1992 Accident to person P and O European Ferries 5 July 1992 Machinery failure Red Funnel 18 August 1992 Fire Wightlink 15 October 1992 Heavy weather damage Stena Sealink 17 January 1993 Collision Caledonian MacBrayne 11 February 1993 Accident to person Commodore Shipping 17 April 1993 Machinery failure Caledonian MacBrayne 30 August 1993 Collision P and O/Brittany Ferries 25 September 1993 Fire Hoverspeed Ltd. 21 March 1994 Accident to person Red Funnel 8 November 1994 Accident to person Stena Line Ltd. 8 December 1994 Accident to person P and O European Ferries 7 March 1995 Grounding Channiland 17 April 1995 Fire Sealink Transmanche 21 August 1995 Heavy weather damage Sea Containers Ltd. 27 September 1995 Heavy weather damage P and O European Ferries 14 December 1995 Fatal accident P and O European Ferries 17 February 1996 Heavy weather damage P and O European Ferries 21 February 1996 Accident to person North Sea Ferries 28 October 1996
Other more minor incidents have also been reported to MAIB during the period.