asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will make a statement on the results of the International Conference on the Prevention of the Pollution of the Sea by Oil; and when it is anticipated that the agreed Convention will come into force.
asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he will make a statement about the results of the recent International Conference on the Prevention of the Pollution of the Sea by Oil.
The Conference prepared a Convention providing for the establishment of zones within which certain oils should not be discharged. The Convention will come into force 12 months after acceptance by 10 Governments, including five with not less than 500,000 gross tons of tanker tonnage. A further Conference will be held within three years to consider the question of the complete avoidance of the discharge of certain oils anywhere at sea.The texts of the Convention and the resolutions adopted by the Conference will be laid before the House as soon as possible. Her Majesty's Government will consider urgently formal acceptance of the Convention and the introduction of the necessary legislation. It will be some years before the effects of this Conference are fully apparent, but the adoption of the Convention will undoubtedly lead to considerable lessening of the evil of oil pollution of our coasts and waters.
In congratulating my right hon. Friend on the success of this Conference, may I ask him whether he can say if Her Majesty's Government will ratify the Convention?
I cannot at this moment add to what I have said, but I think I made it plain that we clearly envisage that legislation will be necessary after ratification.
I should like to add my congratulations to my right hon. Friend, not only because of the success of the Conference, but because of the energy he has devoted to this matter from the start. Might I ask him whether any country has yet signed the Convention, and whether there was any discussion at the Conference about the use of oil separators or any question of that policy being universally adopted by the countries concerned?
Perhaps my hon. Friend will await the fuller statement I shall make in regard to the need for 10 Governments signing the Convention within 12 months before it can come into force. I think the Conference has been successful, but clearly I would have liked it to result in a total prohibition. I think more education is necessary in this important field before we can reach that happy solution.