Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of witnesses (Questions 254 - 259)




  254.  Good evening to you, gentlemen. We realise that we have here a very distinguished group of witnesses and, therefore, in no particular order of preference may I ask you to identify yourselves and those of your companions for whom you are responsible. Let us start at the left.
  (Mr Kopernicki)  I am Jan Kopernicki, I am Vice-President of Shipping of Shell International Trading and Shipping. We are proud to be based here in London. I am accompanied by Dr Peter Swift who is the General Manager of Business Development for our company.

  255.  Thank you.
  (Lord Sterling)  I am Lord Sterling, I am Executive Chairman of P&O, one of your high class pirates, Chairman.

  256.  I do not comment, my Lord, I know my place!
  (Mr Smith)  Peter Smith, I am the Director of Corporate Affairs for the P&O Group.
  (Mr Everard)  I am Michael Everard, Chairman of Everard's. We are a coastal short-sea company and that is what I have come to talk about today.

  257.  Thank you. Gentlemen, can I ask each one of you very briefly what proportion of your vessels are registered in the United Kingdom?
  (Mr Kopernicki)  Slightly over half of our tankers are registered under the British flag, 40 per cent in the Isle of Man. We have a couple of vessels registered in the United Kingdom that operate in the North Sea.

  258.  I see. In your case they have been on the Isle of Man register for some time, have they?
  (Mr Kopernicki)  In a previous incarnation we had vessels spread all around the world and we then went through a process of consolidation, in fact, bringing them back home to the Isle of Man for all kinds of reasons: taxation, high standards, a common base, a security link with the UK and a traditional linkage back to the heritage where we all started one hundred and something years ago.

  259.  That is a continuing tradition. Do you intend to continue to register your vessels in the Isle of Man?
  (Mr Kopernicki)  Indeed, all other things being equal we have had very good service there and the climate is very competitive there. The market is cruelly competitive and if other options opened which were more interesting we would be bound to look at them but we would not just move for the sake of it.[1]

1   Note by witness: The discussion regarding the Isle of Man points up the importance of promoting British ownership and/or control of shipping assets rather than focusing on flag alone. There is no reason to discriminate against either the Isle of Man register, or for that matter the Bermudan register, since both are within the British orbit and enlarge the catchment area in which British shipping interests can operate, with the resultant positive effects on employment and the economy. Back

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