§ Mr. Morgan
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultations he has had with his counterpart in the Irish Republic concerning the vetting of sewerage system safety in design and operation on Welsh-Irish passenger ferry services; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Norris
My officials have been in regular contact with the Irish Department of the Marine, and the Polish authorities, since the tragic accident on the Celtic Pride on 12 August. My surveyors agreed with the operators and the Irish administration a programme for the implementation of modifications to the sewerage system, to provide a permanent solution to the venting problems which caused the accident. Following completion of these modifications, and subsequent tests on the ship in an operational condition, the ship has now been allowed to continue operations. However, monitoring of the situation on board the ship continues on a regular basis.
My Department, and the Irish administration, have circulated an urgent notice to all ferry companies operating from United Kingdom and Irish ports, about the checks to be made on sewerage systems. The Irish administration is currently conducting an inquiry into the tragedy, and will provide my Department with full details of its findings and any recommendations.