Shipping Safety (Donaldson Report)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:04 am on 28th June 1995.

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Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace , Orkney and Shetland 10:04 am, 28th June 1995

I fully accept that argument, and I recognise that there are international constraints. For example, if there are areas to be avoided, that does not interfere with free passage. I have not been among those who have called for the total closure of the Fair Isle straits, in my constituency. If one cannot navigate a vessel through the Fair Isle straits, I am not sure where one can.

There are areas which should be avoided, but that will not stop the free passage of shipping. I would like to see it put on a mandatory rather than a voluntary basis. If that cannot be done internationally, why not do it unilaterally? As to the straits of Dover, there is perhaps more scope for action if we act as a European union rather than as a nation. I pay tribute to the European Union for bringing forward a series of proposals that are designed to improve shipping safety.

I now turn to some of the specifics.