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Mr. Jamieson: The United Kingdom is taking a leading role in negotiations within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to revise the International Load Line Convention 1966 as modified by its protocol of 1988. Test result data have already been made available to the relevant subcommittee of the IMO.
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Formal Safety Assessment website (www.fsa.mcga.gov.uk). Succeeding phases of the MARIN test data will be available on request using compact discs.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if it is the Government's intention to appeal against the court's decision to award costs to the owners of the MV Derbyshire, Lloyd's Register and British Shipbuilders. 
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many bulk carriers have been sunk at sea worldwide since the MV Derbyshire sank in 1980; and how many lives have been lost. 
Mr. Jamieson: The database of casualty statistics maintained by Lloyd's Register shows that, since 1980, 244 bulk carriers of all flags and 1,574 lives have been lost. Losses vary from year to year but this represents an average death rate internationally of 75 per year.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will urge the International Marine Organisation to provide for legislation to ensure that the loading rates for bulk carrier ships are age-related and take account of fatigue and corrosion. 
Mr. Jamieson: The United Kingdom played an active part in developing the Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes which was adopted by the International Maritime Organisation by Resolution A.434 (XI), as amended.
Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (SOLAS) highlighted specific responsibilities placed on terminal operators, which were incorporated into United Kingdom legislation by the Merchant Shipping (Carriage of Cargoes) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999 No. 336), coming into force on 15 March 1999. More generally, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) are leading in the IMO on a comprehensive Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) of bulk carriers that should clarify the need for future legislation.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions she is having with the Scottish Executive about specifications for future ferry services in the West Coast area and the Highlands and Islands. 
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will press the International Maritime Organisation to require the protection of the jobs of seafarers who whistleblow. 
Mr. Jamieson: Employment rights fall outside the International Maritime Organisation's remit on this matter. The UK is, however, taking forward relevant recommendations of public inquiries such as the Derbyshire reopened formal investigation to promote a safety culture.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will press the International Maritime Organisation to require of member countries that the loss at sea of a marine vessel registered with them should be subjected to an investigation as rigorous as that for the loss of a civil aircraft during active service. 
Mr. Jamieson: Administrations that have ratified the convention for the safety of life at sea are obliged by Regulation 21 to conduct an investigation of any casualty occurring to any of its ships when it judges such an investigation may assist in determining what changes in the present regulations might be desirable. A similar obligation is required by Article 94 of the United Nations convention on law of the sea.
The UK discharges its obligation by implementing the Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 1999. These provide powers to investigate accidents involving UK registered vessels wherever they might be and to investigate accidents involving foreign flagged vessels in UK waters.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will press the International Maritime Organisation to require the retrofitting of Voyage Data recorders to ships at sea. 
Mr. Jamieson: The UK has argued with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for retrofitting Voyage Data Recorders to ships at sea, with the result that passenger ships will be retrofitted in a phased programme between July 2002 and January 2004. Extension to include retrofitting to cargo ships is currently under study in the IMO, which is looking at practicability, standards and costs/benefits. The study is intended to be completed by the end of 2003.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will introduce legislation to ensure that the loss of UK registered marine vessels at sea is subjected to an investigation as rigorous as that for the loss of a civil aircraft during active service. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 1999 already enable the Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents to conduct a rigorous investigation to establish the cause of any accident involving the loss of UK registered vessels.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will press the International Maritime Organisation (a) to review the competence of classification societies and (b) to set minimum standards expected of them, with sanctions for those that fall below those standards. 
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Mr. Jamieson: The authorisation of classification societies as "recognised organisations" is the responsibility of each flag state. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Resolution A.739(18), adopted in November 1993, lays down guidelines for granting this authorisation, verification and monitoring, and minimum standards, and urges notification to the IMO of each authorisation and information regarding implementation of the resolution. The IMO reviews and improve these guidelines as necessary.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will press the International Maritime Organisation to require that member countries contribute to a global ships database giving the full history of all ships at sea. 
Mr. Jamieson: An international database, co-funded by the UK and known as EQUASIS, provides a single point of access to information concerning the safety and quality of the world's merchant ships. It records Port State Control detentions and information provided by shipowners' organisations, insurers, classification societies and seafaring unions.
In addition, the UK is co-sponsoring a submission to the IMO's Flag State Implementation Sub-Committee which proposes that each ship should have a "Continuous Synopsis Record" which would provide a traceable and transparent history of the principal parties associated with the ship.
Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if he will introduce legislation to require shipowners to insure crews fully against accidents at work; 
In November 1999, following an initiative by the UK, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) agreed guidelines to shipowners on the provision of effective insurance or other means of financial security to meet internationally agreed limits of liability. The Government have issued a Marine Guidance Note (no 135, March 2000) to all UK registered shipowners, operators and others responsible for the operation of ships about compliance with the IMO guidelines.
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