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Volume 939: debated on Friday 25 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if lie has yet reached any conclusions about the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Pilotage for the establishment of a Pilotage Board; and if he will make a statement.

I intend to accept the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Pilotage on the appointment of Pilotage Commissioners. The Advisory Committee's Report will provide the basis of pilotage legislation which I hope to introduce as part of a Merchant Shipping Bill in this Session.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what percentage of seagoing traffic, both British and foreign, entering the Thames and proceeding above Southend, is obliged to take on fully qualified and licensed pilots; and whether he is satisfied that the practice of permitting some ships entering the river for the first time without such qualified and licensed pilots does not constitute a risk to shipping.

The information requested in the first part of the Question is not available and could be obtained only at excessive cost.The 1974 Steering Committee on Pilotage recommended that exemptions from compulsory pilotage should be based principally on the competence of a ship's personnel as demonstrated by their holding pilotage certificates. This wider use of pilotage certificates, together with a review of the type of exemptions from compulsory pilotage referred to in the second part of the Question has also been recommended by the Advisory Committee on Pilotage—ACOP. I hope that, in the interests of improving safety of navigation, legislation to implement the ACOP Report will soon be brought before the House.