Fifth Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.


Thursday 9 March 1995


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The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairman: Mr James Hill

Etherington, Mr. Bill (Sunderland, North)

Gardiner, Sir George (Reigate)

Garel-Jones, Mr. Tristan (Watford)

Gordon, Ms Mildred (Bow and Poplar)

Grylls, Sir Michael (Surrey, North-West)

Heppell, Mr. John (Nottingham, East)

Keen, Mr. Alan (Feltham and Heston)

Leigh, Mr. Edward (Gainsborough and Horncastle)

Lewis, Mr. Terry (Worsley)

Peacock, Mrs. Elizabeth (Batley and Spen)

Sainsbury, Sir Timothy (Hove)

Scott, Sir Nicholas (Chelsea)

Stevenson, Mr. George (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

Trend, Mr. Michael (Windsor and Maidenhead)

Tyler, Mr. Paul (North Cornwall)

Walley, Ms Joan (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

Watts, Mr. John (Minister of State, Department of Transport)

Wells, Mr. Bowen (Hertford and Stortford)

Mr. D. W. N. Doig, (Committee Clerk)

3 Fifth Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c Thursday 9 March 1995

[Mr. James Hill in the Chair]

Draft Hovercraft (Application of Enactments) (Amendment) Order 1995

10.30 am

The Minister of State, Department of Transport (Mr. John Watts): I beg to move That the Committee has considered the Draft Hovercraft (Application of Enactments) (Amendment) Order 1995. This is merely a piece of parliamentary housekeeping which removes spent references to other enactments that are set out in the 1972 order. I commend it to the Committee.

10.31 am

Ms Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent, North): I shall endeavour to be brief. I welcome the Minister of State to shipping matters. It is good to see him in that position. I should like to raise a matter with the Committee which is not directly a part of the regulations but which is related to them. Does the definition of a hovercraft include that of an international catamaran? Can the Minister in due course tell me whether the housekeeping arrangements that we are making to bring hovercrafts in line with existing legislation, particularly marine pollution legislation, apply to international catamarans? They provide seacat services from various ports around our coast and there are particular safety concerns in that they do not have double 4 bottoms or double skins. Do they fall within the terms of reference of these regulations? Will separate regulations be made? If so, will consideration be given to the possible loophole that has developed in ship safety in that there might be safety implications in having these international catamarans with just one surface? I make that point because extensive tests have been carried out, particularly in Tasmania. When one such vessel got into difficulties and got on to rocks, the bottom was damaged and water flooded in. If we are looking at the wider implications for ship safety and marine pollution, the safety concerns about these vessels should be examined at the same time. I should be grateful if the Minister could advise me further on those safety concerns.

10.33 am

Mr. Watts: I thank the hon. Lady for her generous welcome. I shall take up her invitation to respond at greater length and either my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary or I will write to her. I respond briefly now, super cats are not hovercraft and, therefore, not covered by these regulations. On the other hand, hovercrafts and seacats are both considered to be high-speed craft and will be covered in regulations which we propose to publish in draft for consultation in the autumn to bring into effect the International Maritime Organisation high-speed craft code on 1 January 1996. I will take up the hon. Lady's invitation to respond more fully in writing.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the Draft Hovercraft (Application of Enactments) (Amendment) Order 1995.

Committee rose at twenty-five minutes to Eleven o'clock.


Hill, Mr. James (Chairman)

Leigh, Mr.

Peacock, Mrs.

Sainsbury, Sir Timothy

Scott, Sir Nicholas

Trend, Mr.

Walley, Ms.

Watts, Mr.

Wells, Mr.