PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES

HOUSE OF COMMONS

OFFICIAL REPORT

Third Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.

DRAFT MERCHANT SHIPPING REGULATIONS

Thursday 19 June 1986

LONDON

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The Committee consisted of the following Members:

(Chairman: SIR ANTHONY MYER)

Cohen, Mr. Harry (Leyton)

Colvin, Mr. Michael (Romsey and Waterside)

Garrett, Mr. Ted (Wallsend)

Godman, Dr. Norman A. (Greenock and Port Glasgow)

Macfarlane, Mr. Neil (Sutton and Cheam)

MacKay, Mr. Andrew (Berkshire, East)

Marshall, Mr. Michael (Arundel)

Maude, Mr. Francis (Warwickshire, North)

Mill, Mr. Hal (Bromsgrove)

Mudd, Mr. David (Falmouth and Camborne)

Rees, Mr. Peter (Dover)

Ridsdale, Sir Julian (Harwich)

Roe, Mrs. Marion (Broxbourne)

Ross, Mr. Stephen (Isle of Wight)

Spicer, Mr. Michael (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)

Stott, Mr. Roger (Wigan)

Tinn, Mr. James (Redcar)

Woodall, Mr. Alec (Hemsworth)

Mr. R. I. S. Phillips, (Committee Clerk)

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3 Third Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. Thursday 19 June 1986

[SIR ANTHONY MEYER in the Chair.]

Draft Merchant Shipping (Cargo Ship Construction and Survey) Regulations 1984 (Amendment) Regulations 1986

10.30 am

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Michael Spicer): I beg to move, That the Committee has considered the draft Merchant Shipping (Cargo Ship Construction and Survey) Regulations 1984 (Amendment) Regulations 1986.

The Chairman: With this it may be convenient to discuss the following regulations: The Draft Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction) (New and Existing Ships) (Amendment) Regulations 1986, The Draft Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection and Fire Appliances) (Amendment) Regulations 1986, The Draft Merchant Shipping (Musters and Training) Regulations 1986, The Draft Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances) Regulations 1986, The Draft Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances) Regulations 1980 (Amendment) Regulations 1986, The Draft Merchant Shipping (Radio Installations) (Amendment) Regulations 1986, The Draft Merchant Shipping (Chemical Tankers) Regulations 1986, The Draft Merchant Shipping (Gas Carriers) Regulations 1986, and The Draft Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods) (Amendment) Regulations 1986.

Mr. Spicer: I apologise to the Committee for the number and complexity of the regulations before us today, but I shall try to deal with them as simply and as briefly as I can and not to detain the Committee for longer than necessary. On 17 June 1983 the maritime safety committee of the International Maritime Organisation adopted the 1983 amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of 1974. These amendments enter into force internationally on 1 July 1986, and the regulations under consideration will implement the amendments in respect of United Kingdom ships. In addition—this is an important point, which has been raised on comparable occasions by members of the Committee—they will make provision for their application to certain non-United Kingdom ships while they are in United Kingdom ports or territorial waters. The amendments further amend the 1974 SOLAS convention and are part of a continuing programme of improvements in standards of marine safety being carried out by the International Maritime 4 Organisation. The United Kingdom has been closely involved in the work of the organisation since it was formed and in the development of these amendments to the convention. The powers for making the regulations are contained in sections 21 and 22 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1979. Section 49(3) of the Act requires the regulations to be laid under the affirmative procedure due to their application to non-United Kingdom ships. In accordance with section 22(2) of the Act, there has been full consultation with all relevant sections of the United Kingdom industry and with the trade unions whose members will be affected by the regulations, and they are content with them. The subject matter covered by the amendments, and in turn by the regulations, includes construction, fire protection and extinction, life-saving appliances including survival craft radio equipment, and the carriage of dangerous goods, including gases and bulk liquid chemicals. The Committee may find it helpful if I give a brief outline of the 10 regulations. The Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction) (New and Existing Ships) (Amendment) Regulations amend the Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction) Regulations 1980 and the Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction and Survey) Regulations 1984. In addition to minor amendments arising from the 1983 amendments, they include a provision to restrict the use of asbestos and for the carriage on board of machinery noise reports. The Merchant Shipping (Cargo Ship Construction and Survey) Regulations 1984 (Amendment) Regulations extend the definitions of chemical tanker and gas carrier to include a reference to chapter 17 of the new international bulk chemical code. They ensure that emergency lighting restrictions apply to new ships. In addition to the implementation of the 1983 amendments, there is also provision to restrict the use of asbestos and for the carriage of machinery space noise reports. The Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection and Fire Appliances) (Amendment) Regulations include requirements for tankers carrying chemical cargoes which create particular fire hazards to be provided with an appropriate means of fire extinguishing and to comply with the same structural fire protection requirements as those carrying cargoes with low flash points. There are also additional requirements for smoke detection on passenger ships built after 1 July 1986. The Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances) Regulations apply to new ships — those whose keels are laid on or after 1 July 1986 — with the exception of fishing vessels and certain classes of passenger ships engaged on restricted service within or close to the territorial waters of the United Kingdom. The principal changes include the provision of totally enclosed motor lifeboats in cargo ships, totally or partially enclosed lifeboats in passenger ships, davit-launched liferafts in passenger ships, the provision of rescue boats, additional radio equipment, immersion suits, lifejacket lights and training manuals. 5 The Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances) Regulations 1980 (Amendment) Regulations contain a limited number of the requirements of the 1983 amendments which apply to existing ships. They include the manning of survival craft, the provision of training manuals and requirements for operational readiness, maintenance, inspections and servicing of life-saving appliances. The Merchant Shipping (Musters and Training) Regulations revoke the Merchant Shipping (Musters) Regulations 1980 as amended by the Merchant Shipping (Musters) (Amendment) Regulations 1981. In addition to the basic content of the 1980 regulations, abandon ship drills are prescribed in detail, and there are new requirements for on-board training and instruction in the use of life-saving appliances. The Merchant Shipping (Radio Installations) (Amendment) Regulations require survival craft emergency position-indicating radio beacons and radio equipment to comply with performance standards. They also require the Secretary of State to permit alternative provisions to those required by the general radio installations regulations if the alternative is at least as effective. The Merchant Shipping (Chemical Tankers) Regulations require chemical tankers to comply with the international code for the construction and equipment of ships carrying dangerous chemicals in bulk. Such ships are required to be surveyed and issued with a certificate of compliance with the code. The Merchant Shipping (Gas Carriers) Regulations require ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk to comply with the international code for the construction and equipment of ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk. Such ships are required to be surveyed and issued with a certificate of compliance with the code. The Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods) (Amendment) Regulations include additional requirements in respect of dangerous goods carried in solid form and extend to all masters the duty to ensure that dangerous goods are carried in such a way as not to create a risk to the health or safety of any person. Under the current Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods) Regulations 1981 this duty applies to the owner of a United Kingdom ship and to the master of a non-United Kingdom ship. These regulations will fulfil the United Kingdom's international obligations to implement the amendments to the Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, and I commend them to the Committee.

10.38 a.m.

Mr. Roger Stott (Wigan): The Minister is absolutely right to say that these regulations represent a ratification in merchant shipping of the agreements made at by the International Maritime Organisation some years ago regarding safety at sea. I am sure that every member of the Committee is aware of the dangers of going to sea. We must do anything that we can to help prevent accidents and to increase safety consciousness. The Minister again observed that the General Council of British Shipping and the sea-going trade 6 unions involved welcome these regulations as additional provision for their safety at sea. I was at sea some 20 years ago and, as I looked through the regulations, I was reminded of the fire drills and boat drills that we used to have to do. This way of doing it is not dissimilar, although it is more comprehensive to ensure that such drills are put in legislative form. As I do not wish to detain the Committee any further, may I say that the Opposition welcome these regulations. As the Minister said, they are an improvement and they will increase safety at sea.

Mr. Michael Spicer: I am grateful to the honourable Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott) for his remarks, particularly as they come from so experienced a source.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved. That the Committee has considered the draft Merchant Shipping (Cargo Ship Construction and Survey) Regulations 1984 (Amendment) Regulations 1986.

DRAFT MERCHANT SHIPPING (PASSENGER SHIP CONSTRUCTION) (NEW AND EXISTING SHIPS) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 1986

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction) (New and Existing Ships) (Amendment) Regulations 1986. — [Mr. Michael Spicer].

DRAFT MERCHANT SHIPPING (FIRE PROTECTION AND FIRE APPLIANCES) (AMENDMENT) REGULATION 1986.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Merchant Shipping (Fire Protection and Fire Appliances) (Amendment) Regulations 1986. — [Mr. Michael Spicer].

DRAFT MERCHANT SHIPPING (MUSTERS AND TRAINING) REGULATIONS 1986.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Merchant Shipping (Musters and Training) Regulations 1986. — [Mr. Michael Spicer].

DRAFT MERCHANT SHIPPING (LIFE-SAVING APPLIANCES) REGULATIONS 1986.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances) Regulations 1986. — [Mr. Michael Spicer].

DRAFT MERCHANT SHIPPING (LIFE-SAVING APPLIANCES) REGULATIONS 1980 (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 1986.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Merchant Shipping (Life-Saving Appliances) Regulations 1980 (Amendment) Regulations 1986. — [Mr. Michael Spicer].

DRAFT MERCHANT SHIPPING (RADIO INSTALLATIONS) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 1986.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Merchant Shipping (Radio Installations) (Amendment) Regulations 1986. — [Mr. Michael Spicer].

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DRAFT MERCHANT SHIPPING (CHEMICAL TANKERS) REGULATIONS 1986.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Merchant Shipping (Chemical Tankers) Regulations 1986. — [Mr. Michael Spicer].

DRAFT MERCHANT SHIPPING (GAS CARRIERS) REGULATIONS 1986. 8

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the Draft Merchant Shipping (Gas Carriers) Regulations 1986. — [Mr. Michael Spicer].

DRAFT MERCHANT SHIPPING (DANGEROUS GOODS) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 1986.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods) (Amendment) Regulations 1986. — [Mr. Michael Spicer].

Committee rose at twenty minutes to Eleven o'clock.

THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE

Meyer, Sir Anthony (Chairman)

MacKay, Mr. Andrew

Marshall, Mr. Michael

Maude, Mr.

Mudd, Mr.

Ridsdale, Sir Julian

Roe, Mrs.

Spicer, Mr. Michael

Stott, Mr.

Woodall, Mr.

The following Member also attended pursuant to Standing Order No. 73A(2):

Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant).