§ Mr. Sayeed
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps the Government propose to take to help ensure the availability of adequate manpower on British merchant vessels in time of war or emergency.
§ Mr. Moore
I am opening consultations with shipowners and representatives of seafarers about ways in which the Government might help with training and with the cost of transporting crews to and from vessels operating away from this country. These measures would contribute to the retention of British nationals on board British vessels. In an emergency it might be necessary to replace foreign seafarers on some ships with United Kingdom nationals, and to facilitate this the Government propose to create a Merchant Navy Reserve of trained personnel willing to return to the sea if needed. I envisage a small annual payment to those who are prepared to register.
Following consultation, it would be my intention to seek the necessary powers from Parliament at the earliest opportunity.