HC Deb 25 October 1999 vol 336 c671W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what controls exist to monitor the number of vessels in the Irish Sea carrying radioactive material; what requirements there are for the registration of such movements and the reporting of incidents which could endanger the public; and what was the average number of such vessels moving in the Irish Sea during the past 18 months. [94672]

Mr. Hill

UK legislation requires ship operators to provide my Department with information on dangerous and polluting cargoes, including radioactive material, carried by ships calling at UK ports. It also requires ship operators to report incidents to HM Coastguard. These requirements give effect to international rules adopted through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and to an EC directive. We cannot require ships that pass through UK waters without calling at a UK port to provide us with information except in accordance with IMO approved schemes. Any such requirement would conflict with the navigational rights and freedoms enjoyed by foreign ships according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982, to which the UK is a party. Information on the number of ships passing through the Irish Sea without calling at a UK port is not available.