§ Mr. McMahon
asked the Secretary of State for Trade what information he has as to how many ships formerly on the United Kingdom register which were scrapped over the last five years are still in operation under flags of convenience; and what assessment he has made of the effects on the United Kingdom's international competitiveness.
§ Mr. Parkinson
I assume the hon. Member is referring to ships which leave the United Kingdom register for scrapping, but are subsequently operated under other flags. A United Kingdom-owned ship being scrapped is not removed from our register until it is incapable of navigation. No official records are kept of any subsequent use of ships sold to an overseas owner for scrapping.