asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps have been taken in support of resolution TD/B/C.4/AC.4/L.Z approved by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development at Geneva on 6 to 17 February 1984 on combating international maritime fraud.
The Government were disappointed to see that the resolution to which my hon. Friend refers contained no practical proposals for combating maritime fraud. We hope that UNCTAD will produce more constructive ideas at its second meeting, and we shall be working hard to this end.
Is my hon. Friend aware of the growing concern about the level of maritime fraud, which is currently estimated by the International Maritime Bureau as running at $10 billion a year and which puts it on a par with the drugs trade? Will my hon. Friend assure the House that a high-powered delegation will be sent to the conference in Zurich in October?
I assure my hon. Friend that Britain will be properly represented by a high-powered delegation. We recognise the importance of the matter. I cannot put a precise figure on the cost of maritime fraud, but, in addition to the actual cost of losses, there is substantial damage to confidence within the trading communities concerned.