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Borders: Passenger Ships

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 4 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport on strengthening domestic security in relation to cruise ships under the (a) e-borders programme and (b) Government’s counter-terrorism strategy. (253703)

The Home Secretary is in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Transport on a range of matters including maritime security and e-Borders.

The e-Borders programme is designed to collect passenger and crew data for all those entering or leaving the UK regardless of the mode of transport and is currently in the process of being rolled out. Cruise ships are included in the implementation programme and preliminary discussions and trials with major cruise operators and with shipping agents who act on behalf of cruise operators have been held. No major issues have been identified that would prevent cruise ship operators from achieving full compliance in line with the e-Borders implementation plan.

There is an established maritime security regime in place in the UK for all passenger ships, including cruise ships, engaged in international voyages. This regime is regulated by the Department for Transport and is in accordance with the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) Code and EU Regulation 725/2004.