§ Mrs. Ewing
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what legal requirements merchant shipping employees on sick leave were required to fulfil in June 1991 when returning to work offshore after instructions from their employer; 
(2) what legal requirements employers of merchant seamen were required to fulfil in June 1991 when instructing employees on sick leave to return to work offshore; 
(3) if he will make a statement on amendments made since 1986 to Merchant Shipping Notice No. 1536 and Merchant Shipping Notice No. 1331 in respect of diseases of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum; 
(4) what Health and Safety Executive regulations, relating to record keeping, were in force in May 1991 in respect of the transfer of sick merchant seamen to oil platforms in the United Kingdom sector of the North Sea. 
§ Ms Glenda Jackson
In terms of Merchant Shipping (Medical Examination) Regulations 1983, applicable in 1991, a seafarer cannot be employed on a ship covered by the Regulations unless he holds a valid medical fitness certificate. Under Merchant Shipping legislation, there are no specific or additional requirements relating to return to work after sick leave.
Merchant Shipping Notice M1536, which listed doctors approved by the Secretary of State to carry out seafarer medicals, and M1331, setting out the medical standards for seafarers, have both been updated. While the medical fitness standards have been kept under review by the Department's medical advisers, no change has been made in respect of diseases of the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.
There were no regulations relating to record keeping for the transfer of sick merchant seamen to oil platforms in the United Kingdom sector of the North Sea, although 579W the offshore Installations (Logbooks and Registration of Deaths) Regulations 1972 required a record to be kept of all persons arriving at or departing from an installation.