Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what arrangements exist for (a) liaison and (b) training between the Royal Navy and the Merchant Fleet for protecting the latter in the event of (i) terrorist attack, (ii) piracy and (iii) an outbreak of hostilities between states; and if he will make a statement. 
[Due for Answer on 9 February.]
The Minister for the Armed Forces (James Heappey): The Royal Navy (RN) has a global Maritime Trade Operations (MTO) capability with the ability to deploy personnel and resources quickly to support industry in the event of conflict or against a specific maritime security threat. This capability provides timely advice on Maritime Security Incidents to industry and additionally provides deconfliction between the military and the maritime trade.
While industry follows International Maritime Organisation protocols to ensure safety at sea during times of threat, the RN also conduct training scenarios with industry vessels on a regular basis to practice emergency procedures and reporting. Tactics to escort merchant shipping remain in both the UK and NATO doctrine to should there be a requirement in times of hostility. The RN also conduct Merchant Navy liaison courses and a mutual exchange scheme to allow wider familiarisation and experience of both RN and commercial shipping operations.