asked the Minister of Transport why a British-owned tug which was available was not used to tow the "Ramara" which was disabled at Gibraltar to a West Italian port; and, in view of the necessity of saving foreign currency, if he will in future use British tugs when available.
British tug owners were given the opportunity to tender for this tow, but their lowest quotation was substantially higher than that accepted by the managers of the vessel. The accepted tender came from a Dutch company and there were therefore no currency grounds for departing from normal commercial practice and the policy of non-discrimination in these matters.
Is it the policy of the Minister of Transport when chartering tugs, even if he has to pay a bit more in sterling, not to charter them if dollars are involved?
There was no question of dollars being involved.
I am informed that there was.