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Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the availability of (a) British merchant seafarers and (b) British flagged merchant vessels to meet foreseeable strategic defence needs. (127929)

In 2004 the Department for Transport, jointly with Ministry of Defence, commissioned the London Metropolitan University to produce a quarterly assessment of the number of UK seafarers up to and including 2006. The Department for Transport also collate an assessment of militarily useful UK registered merchant shipping on a regular basis using an evaluation criterion provided by the MOD.