§ Mr. David Shaw
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review the registration of merchant ships under flags of convenience; and what steps he intends to take to assist the development of the British register of merchant ships.
§ Mr. Norris
The issue of flag state responsibility is better tackled by effective international action in the International Maritime Organisation and elsewhere aimed at ensuring that all flag states discharge their responsibilities properly. This is already in hand.
As for assisting the British register, we are implementing the recommendations of the joint working party on British shipping of 1990, and to this end the Government will be supporting the Merchant Shipping (Registration etc.) Bill of my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. Page) at its Second Reading next month. We shall also continue to press in the European Community for measures to increase commercial opportunities for EC merchant fleets and to remove their competitive disadvantages.