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Marine Pollution

Volume 174: debated on Tuesday 12 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those oil pollution incidents reported to his officials by HM coastguard since 1 January 1989, giving in each case details of what follow-up investigations were made, whether a prosecution resulted and what the results of any prosecution were.

Between 1 January 1989 and 1 June 1990, a total of 214 reports of possible oil pollution were passed on by HM coastguard to the marine pollution control unit.Only 79 of those reports named a ship which might or might not have been the possible source of the pollution. After port state inspections in the United Kingdom or elsewhere, five cases were referred to the flag states of the vessels concerned to investigate further a possible illegal operational discharge of oil; one of these has resulted in a prosecution and a fine of £675 by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.Of the other 74 cases, three are still being investigated by the MPCU. Follow-up action in the remaining 71 has now been discontinued because either

(a) after port state inspection where appropriate, there was insufficient evidence of a possible illegal discharge to justify further action; or (b) the pollution was not an illegal discharge, for example, it resulted from the sinking of a vessel or from damage to a ship or its equipment.