I have today published as a draft the Merchant Shipping (High Speed Craft) Regulations 2022, along with an accompanying draft Explanatory Memorandum. The draft Regulations revoke and replace the Merchant Shipping (High Speed Craft) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/302) and the instruments that amend them and implement the most up to date requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974 (‘the Convention’), relating to safety measures for high speed craft.
The draft Regulations are being published for 28 days. Following the conclusion of this period, and once any observations on the draft Regulations have been taken into account, they will be laid for approval by each House of Parliament. This procedure is required under paragraph 14 of Schedule 8 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 because these Regulations revoke an instrument, the Merchant Shipping (High Speed Craft) Regulations 2004, that was made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. Further details are contained in the Annex to the draft Explanatory Memorandum.
The draft Regulations implement requirements for high speed craft in Chapter X of the Annex to the Convention, including previously unimplemented requirements to carry out and record entry and rescue drills in enclosed spaces, and to open up the Global Distress satellite system provider market.
The updated measures in Chapter X are in force internationally, but the measures must also be incorporated into our national legislation to enable them to be enforced effectively, most notably to discourage non-compliance by non-UK flagged ships in UK waters, which would be detrimental to the safety of shipping in UK coastal areas. The draft Regulations will ensure that UK law includes increased safety standards for high speed craft and seafarers on UK flagged high speed and non-UK flagged high speed operating in UK waters by implementing updates to improve high speed craft safety.
The draft Regulations also include an ambulatory reference provision to ensure that future amendments to the Convention referred to in the draft Regulations will automatically become UK law when they enter into force internationally. As described in the accompanying draft Explanatory Memorandum, a Ministerial Statement will be provided to both Houses of Parliament ahead of any amendment to Chapter X, or other provision, of the Convention referenced in the draft Regulations, prior to it coming into force in UK law by way of the ambulatory reference provision.