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Submersible Craft: Legal Status

Volume 447: debated on Monday 6 February 1984

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a) domestic, and ( b) international law of small submersibles (naval, commercial, or research), which may be either remotely controlled or manned, and may or may not be in permanent contact with the seabed, operating within United Kingdom internal or territorial waters, or on or over the United Kingdom continental shelf.

Any manned mobile submersible apparatus which is operated within United Kingdom waters or from a British-registered ship is required to be registered with the Department of Transport. Such craft and supporting apparatus are prohibited from operating without a valid safety certificate issued by my right honourable friend after satisfactory survey. Further regulations relating to their safe operation are being prepared. Legislation regulating offshore installations and activities on the United Kingdom continental shelf affects the use of submersibles in certain respects. Naval submersibles are not covered by merchant shipping legislation.There are no international conventions relating specifically to submersibles, but such craft are subject to the provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 1973/78) and the 1958 Convention on the Territorial Sea.