Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Madam President, I represent Scotland, a nation with a long maritime history and a nation with tremendous potential for its future. Scotland is geographically very well-placed to be developed as a maritime transport hub between Europe and the rest of the world and we have considerable scope to develop additional short sea routes, both for passengers and for freight. Improved safety is therefore of considerable importance to us, having had our own share of serious accidents involving shipping in Scottish waters. The carrying of hazardous materials must, of course, be transparently declared and properly controlled. Crews should have the right to be treated fairly with due consideration for their safety. We must learn from past failings and ensure that independent investigations are carried out when accidents do occur. The Scottish Government recently announced that a new operator is to resume a ferry service between Rosyth and Zeebrugge. I would hope that if we are to move traffic from roads to the sea that the European Union can assist more proactively in the development of such ferry routes.

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