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Shipping: Safety

Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress the Council of Ministers has made on a common framework for the permanent exclusion by member states of vessels in repeated breach of EU safety regulations. (206700)

The UK already has a framework for restricting vessel access to UK ports which is set out in The Merchant Shipping (Port State Control) Regulations 1995 [SI 1995 No. 3128 as amended] and the associated Merchant Shipping Notice 1775 (M).

The original proposal of the recast of the EU Directive on Port State Control, one of the Third Maritime Safety Package proposals, included provisions to permanently ban vessels which have been detained for a third time following inspection at a Community port. The Council was not persuaded that a permanent ban was proportionate or legally enforceable. It considered that ships which have been banned under the terms of the directive should be allowed back into Community ports once stringent safety criteria, including a further inspection of the ship concerned, have been satisfied.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the progress made by EU member states on implementing the provisions of the Erika II legislative package enabling the competent authorities in member states to prevent ships from setting sail in very bad weather. (206810)

The UK has implemented these provisions.

Regulation 13 of the Merchant Shipping (Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Reporting Requirements) Regulations 2004 covers measures to be taken in the event of exceptionally bad weather or sea conditions.

The Government also have procedures in place so that if an incident is reported to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, a counter pollution and response officer and, if necessary, the Secretary of State’s Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) will be alerted.

The Government have made no assessment of the progress made by other EU member states in implementing these provisions.