HC Deb 31 July 1981 vol 9 cc630-2W
Mr. Prescott

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) which are the dependent territories in which the United Kingdom's Merchant Shipping Acts apply; whether any has established an open shipping register; and when it was established;

(2) whether any dispensation has been given to the United Kingdom's dependent territories from any section of the Shipping Acts; if so, what they are; to whom they were given; and when.

Mr. Eyre

It is not for me to determine what merchant shipping enactments should or should not apply to the dependent territories. The position, which is a complicated one, is as follows.

Except as otherwise specified, the Merchant Shipping Acts 1894–1923 were applied to all dependent territories, though under section 735 of the 1894 Act the legislature: of any British possession may, by an Act or Ordinance confirmed by Her Majesty in Council, repeal any provisions of the Act relating to ships registered in that possession. The following enactments of dependent territories have been confirmed by Her Majesty in Council:

Most Merchant Shipping Acts since 1923 apply only to the United Kingdom but contain provisions enabling them to be applied with the necessary modifications to dependent territories. It is not possible within the context of the present reply to give detailed information concerning all extensions; the information can be obtained from the index to Government orders under the title "Merchant Shipping".

Some dependent territories have enacted their own legislation on particular aspects of merchant shipping, without repealing the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894. Under section 221 of the Gibraltar Merchant Shipping Ordinance (Cap. 106) the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Acts which do not otherwise apply to Gibraltar are made applicable mutatis mutandis and under section 2 of the Saint Helena Ordinance No. 18 of 1951 so much of the Merchant Shipping Acts 1894 to 1950 as is not already in force in Saint Helena and is capable of being applied therein is made applicable with the necessary modifications.

So far as registration is concerned, part I of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 establishes a single British register administered by registrars at ports in the United Kingdom, the British islands and at other ports, including some in dependent territories, in accordance with section 4 of the Act. To date the only dependent territory to have enacted its own legislation in matters of registry is Bermuda, whose Merchant Shipping Act 1979 substantially preserves the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 concerning registration.

Mr. Prescott

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what conditions govern dispensation from British seafaring certification and manning requirements to the United Kingdom's dependent territories or companies registered in those territories.

Mr. Eyre

Current United Kingdom officer certificaton requirements—Section 92 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, as amended by the Merchant Shipping Act 1967—apply to ships registered in dependent territories only when sailing from a United Kingdom port. This will remain the position after 1 September 1981 when new United Kingdom certification requirements come into force except for dependencies which have enacted their own certification legislation or applied to have the new United Kingdom regulations, made under the Merchant Shipping Acts of 1970 and 1979, extended to their ships.