To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what current statutory regulations exist concerning the seaworthiness of vessels and the number of shipmen relative to size that should be sailing a ship.
Statutory regulations issued under the various Merchant Shipping Acts are promulgated by way of a merchant shipping notice. There are many such regulations in force covering, inter alia, crew matters, dangerous goods, fire, life-saving, marine pollution, navigation, ship construction and equipment, and health and safety. Each year the list is revised, and I have placed a copy of the latest notice in the Library. (Merchant Shipping Notice No. M.1407, Principal Acts and Regulations on Merchant Shipping, published by the Department of Transport in February 1990.)Apart from the statutory requirements for certificated officers, the minimum safe complement of other seafarers depends on other factors as well as size—the ship's equipment, trading areas and the nature of cargo all have to be taken into account when assessing a safer manning level. Passenger ships must have an adequate crew to muster and assist the passengers in an emergency.