HL Deb 20 June 1986 vol 476 cc1230-2

3.32 p.m.

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, I beg to move that the merchant shipping orders standing in my name on the Order Paper be approved en bloc.

The regulations will implement the 1983 amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974. The 1983 amendments, the second set of amendments to the convention, were adopted by the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organisation at its 48th session on 17th June 1983 and will enter into force on 1st July 1986. The subject matter covered by the 1983 amendments, and in turn by the regulations, includes construction, fire protection and extinction, life-saving appliances, radio equipment for survival craft, and the carriage of dangerous goods.

Of those regulations, six will amend existing regulations, four are new regulations, and one of those four will revoke current regulations on the same subject. The regulations apply in general to United Kingdom ships wherever they may be and to non-United Kingdom ships when in the United Kingdom or its territorial waters. The regulations are required to be laid under the affirmative procedure on acccount of their application to non-United Kingdom ships, and the powers for making the regulations are contained in Section 21 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1979. There has been full consultation with all sections of the shipping industry, including the relevant trade unions, as required by Section 22 of the Act.

As I said in my opening remarks, the purpose of these regulations is to implement the 1983 amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974. In making the regulations, the United Kingdom will be fulfilling its international obligations in the important matter of marine safety. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft regulations laid before the House on 22nd May and on 16th June [25th and 26th Reports from the Joint Committee] be approved.—(The Earl of Caithness.)

Lord Underhill

My Lords, I believe it would be wrong not to pass comment on the excellent summary that the noble Earl has made. He has done extremely well in giving the House a summary of 10 important regulations. We naturally welcome them. They are all concerned with safety of life at sea. In fact, some are very reminiscent of the Private Member's Bill that was recently introduced by the noble Earl, Lord Lauderdale, on the question of safety at sea.

The noble Earl said that a number of the orders apply to non-United Kingdom ships when they are in United Kingdom ports or territorial waters. Can he tell me whether there are any countries with substantial merchant fleets to which these orders do not apply? That could be an important point. Further, are there any countries with substantial overseas trade who do not have the same applicability as ourselves when applying the orders to vessels which are not of their nationality? With those two questions, we welcome the 10 orders as being very important for safety at sea.

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, my understanding is that the orders will apply to all merchant shipping in territorial waters, United Kingdom or non-United Kingdom ships. Being a convention of the IMO, that well-known and respected organisation, they will apply to all the major trading fleets, and they jointly apply to all fleets on 1st July 1986 where they have not implemented them already.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House adjourned at twenty-four minutes before four o'clock.