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Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 17 May 1961

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Dry Docks (Capacity)


asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware that there are several vessels of 77,000 tons now under construction with a beam of 113 feet; how many dry docks in this country are capable of accommodating these vessels when they require under-water repairs; and what steps are being taken to provide repairing facilities for them.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport
(Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett)

Yes, Sir. There are at

line ends there is a notice which says "You May Now Pass"? Does he not think such notices are rather misleading?

If the hon. Lady will tell me which road she has in mind, I will look at those particular circumstances.

Road Schemes, Wales


asked the Minister of Transport if he will issue a list of schemes in the road programme in Wales, costing more than £100,000, which were started in 1960, with the estimated completion date and total cost of each.

Yes, Sir. As the list contains detailed information, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the list—

present four dry docks in this country which can accommodate ships of this size. Two more are expected to be completed this year, and work on yet another is expected to start this summer. This programme should for the time being be adequate.

Is the Minister aware that the construction of our ships is in danger of out-stripping the facilities of our ports? While we know that these tankers can come up to the estuaries and that there is no need for them to enter the harbour, there are times when it will be necessary for these ships to come into the harbour and enter dry dock, and we have not got the facilities for catering for them? Will he do something to hurry up the matter, because it is very urgent to Bristol?

Apart from the "Queens", there are no ships of this tonnage and width of beam or over on the United Kingdom register and none under construction here. There are some eight ships of that size in operation and thirteen under construction. All are tankers and are now being built in Japan. They mostly run between the Persian Gulf and Japan, and none has yet discharged at a United Kingdom port.

Does that mean that we we cannot accept these ships in this country because we do not have the facilities at our ports? That is a reflection upon this country and our shipping industry.

I cannot agree with that. As I said in my Answer, we have sufficient of these big docks for the time being.