§ Mr. David Shaw
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements are being made for the provision of emergency towing vessels next winter. 
§ Mr. Bowis
Emergency towing vessels have been stationed, on a trial basis, in the Minches and Dover strait for the last three winter periods and in the south-west approaches this winter, following recommendations by Lord Donaldson and the emergency towing study team.
A report of the first two year's trials has been published. Further analysis of the trials is to be undertaken so that the benefits of the provision of such Government-funded vessels can be fully assessed. Meanwhile, the three vessels will be re-engaged to provide emergency cover the next winter in the same areas.