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Ferry Safety

Volume 129: debated on Thursday 10 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his discussions with British ferry owners about the safety of ferries.

My officials hold regular meetings with British ferry owners to discuss the Government's ferry safety programme. I am glad to say that the General Council of British Shipping, and British ferry owners generally, have been co-operating fully with the Government in the implementation of this programme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which recommendations of Mr. Justice Sheen regarding older ferries he has decided not to implement; and if he will make a statement.

None. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Shaw) on 3 March, at column 653, in which I stated the current position in relation to roll-on/roll-off ferries built before 1980.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of the number of inspections performed by marine inspectors (a) in the two years prior to the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise and (b) since that date to the latest date for which information is available; and if he will make a statement.

In the two-year two-month period prior to the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise 1,501 inspections of United Kingdom ships and 5,823 inspections of foreign ships were made. From 6 March 1987 to 29 February 1988, 1,178 inspections of United Kingdom ships and 2,256 inspections of foreign ships were made.