HC Deb 24 January 2001 vol 361 c604W
Ms Atherton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what powers of intervention his representative has to allow the entry of unsafe vessels to ports. [146157]

Mr. Hill

A harbour master may give directions under the Dangerous Vessels Act 1985 prohibiting the entry into, or requiring the removal from, the harbour of any vessel if its condition, or the nature or condition of anything it contains, is such that its presence in the harbour might involve a grave and imminent danger to the safety of persons or property or a risk that the vessel may, by sinking or foundering in the harbour, prevent or seriously prejudice the use of the harbour by other vessels. Such directions given by the harbour master may be over-ridden by the Secretary of State or his representative. There are also powers in Sections 137 and 138 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, as amended by the Merchant Shipping and Maritime Security Act 1997 and the Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution) (Foreign Ships) Order 1997. These powers enable the Secretary of State, or his representative, to give directions to allow, or if appropriate refuse, the entry of a vessel to a port for the purpose of preventing or minimising pollution, or the threat of pollution, following a maritime accident.

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