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Fishing: Vessels

Volume 706: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the principal differences between the requirements of the small fishing vessel code and the workboat code; and what is the reason for each such difference. [HL719]

Each code is a balanced set of requirements aimed at the risks faced by the vessels. Differences in requirements also occur as fishing codes use length as a measure of risk whereas the workboat code uses distance from a safe haven as the measure.

The principal differences between codes cover stability, liferafts and construction.

Workboats need a stability assessment, the form of which varies depending on the vessel's area of operation and carriage of passengers.

New fishing vessels of 12-15 metres must be constructed in accordance with the stability requirements contained in Merchant Shipping Notice 1770—the code of practice for the construction and use of 15 metres length overall to less than 24 metres registered length fishing vessels. Other small fishing vessels are not required to have a stability assessment.

Workboats and fishing vessels of 12-15 metres are required to carry liferafts for the number of persons on board. Other small fishing vessels are recommended to carry liferafts.

It should be noted that the workboat code applies only to workboats operating at sea. Workboats of under 12.2 metres in length on inshore waters (categorised waters) are not required to carry liferafts. Many fishing vessels of under 12 metres fish in such inshore or inland waters.

In many respects the construction requirements placed on small fishing vessels, particularly in the area of construction to the seafish construction rules, are higher than those placed on workboats.