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Written Answers. - Marine Safety.

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 547 No. 4

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 63. Mr. M. Higgins Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey  the steps which are being taken to monitor compliance with the recently announced regulations relating to the compulsory wearing of personal floatation devices and mandatory basic safety training for fishermen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3491/02]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey On 14 December 2001, I signed two statutory instruments, S.I. No. 586 of 2001, Fishing Vessel (Personal Flotation Devices) Regulations, 2001 and S.I. No. 587 of 2001, Fishing Vessel (Basic Safety Training) Regulations, 2001. The regulations will come into effect on 1 March 2002.

The Fishing Vessel (Personal Flotation Devices) Regulations require all crew members of a fishing boat to wear a personal flotation device, PFD, at all times when on deck of any fishing vessel, or in the case of open decked ves[1584] sels, on board the vessel, whether at sea, in harbour or coming to and from moorings. Under the regulations the skipper of the vessel must take all reasonable steps to ensure that all crew members wear a PFD.

The Fishing Vessel (Basic Safety Training) Regulations will require new crew members of a fishing vessel to undertake basic safety training before going to sea for the first time, and all serving crew members to undertake basic safety training on a phased basis between 2003 and 2008. A crew member who has not successfully completed basic safety training by the date specified in the regulations shall not work on board a fishing vessel.

Primary responsibility for the safety of the crew of a fishing vessel lies with the owner of that vessel. Both Statutory Instruments were made under the merchant Shipping Act, 1992. Under section 19(5)(a) of that Act, if there is a contravention of regulations made under it, the owner and skipper of a fishing vessel shall be guilty of an offence and each shall be liable on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €1269.74, £1000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.

I believe that my Department working in consultation and partnership with the fishing industry will secure the co-operation of the fishing vessel owners, skipper and crews to comply with the new regulations. In addition, the new maritime safety directorate, will address, as one of its priorities, additional means of encouraging and monitoring compliance.

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