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Application To Unregistered Ships

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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'(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations specifying any description of unregistered ships and directing that such of the provisions of sections 29, 30 and 32 as may be specified in the regulations—
  • (a) shall extend to unregistered ships of that description, or
  • (b) shall so extend in such circumstances as may be so specified.
  • with such modifications (if any) as may be so specified.
    (2) Subsection (1) shall not be construed as prejudicing the application to unregistered ships of section 29(1)(a) or section 32(2)(a)(iii).
    (3) In this section "unregistered ship" means a ship which is not registered in the United Kingdom or elsewhere.'.—[Mr. David Mitchell.]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

    The purpose of the amendments is to tidy up the application of clauses 29 to 32 to unregistered ships, particularly the application to ships that might be termed "unregistered United Kingdom ships" when outside United Kingdom ports and territorial waters.

    I should make it clear that the vast majority of unregistered ships are in fact pleasure craft. Although many pleasure craft are registered, because it is a common requirement imposed by banks in order to mortgage a ship, the smaller ones are often not. A more famous—or infamous—category of unregistered ships are pirate radio ships and there are occasional irregularities involving ships that have been removed from one register and not placed on another.

    The House will note that the amendments make no change to the existing application of clauses 29 to 32 to any ship, whether registered or not, when in United Kingdom ports or territorial waters. Their primary aim is to enable all four clauses to be applied to unregistered ships with a United Kingdom connection when outside United Kingdom waters, in the same way as United Kingdom registered ships are so covered. In fact, there are provisions in clause 30(2)(b) and clause 32(2)(a)(ii) which attempt to do that, but they are unsatisfactory because, for example, clause 30(2)(b) would catch ships owned entirely by citizens of a dependent territory that had no United Kingdom connection at all. Those two provisions are therefore deleted and an order-making power substituted by the new clause. We anticipate laying orders in that respect later in the year.