Examination of witnesses (Questions 254
WEDNESDAY 27 JANUARY 1999
SWIFT and MR
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
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
(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
259. That is a continuing tradition. Do
you intend to continue to register your vessels in the Isle of
(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 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