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Shipping: Safety

Question for Department for Transport

UIN HL3853, tabled on 8 November 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the extent to which the UK's maritime legislation relies on other countries implementing international convention on marine safety, and (2) whether a failure to transpose international convention requirements into domestic law has inhibited the enforcement of marine safety in UK waters.

Answered on

17 November 2021

The UK does not rely on enforcement of maritime legislation by other countries. In a case of non-compliance with an international convention requirement that has not yet been implemented into domestic law, the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 provides other means of enforcement if the breach of the convention requirement comprises a safety risk.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) may detain a ship, under section 95 of the above Act, if it is considered to be dangerously unsafe, or it is undermanned, under section 49. Non-compliance with a detention notice is an offence under section 284.

Where an owner of a ship fails to take all reasonable steps to operate the ship in a safe manner, a prosecution may be brought under section 100; where the owner and master operate a dangerously unsafe ship, under section 98; and for undermanning, under section 49. In addition, anyone going to sea as a qualified officer or seaman where they are not so qualified, is also guilty of an offence, under section 52. These provisions are regularly relied on by the MCA.