Criminal Justice Act, 1994


Enforcement Powers in Respect of Ships

Section 35 .


1. (1) In this Schedule—

“an enforcement officer” means—

(a) a member of the Garda Síochána,

(b) an officer of customs and excise,

(c) a member of the Naval Service of the Defence Forces not below the rank of petty officer, and

(d) any other person of a description specified in an order made for the purposes of this Schedule by the Minister;

“the ship” means the ship in relation to which the powers conferred by this Schedule are exercised.

(2) An order under this Schedule (including an order made under this subparagraph) may be amended or revoked by the Minister.

(3) Every order made under this Schedule shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and, if a resolution annulling the order is passed by either such House within the next 21 days on which that House has sat after the order is laid before it, the order shall be annulled accordingly, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder.

Power to stop, board, divert and detain a ship

2. (1) An enforcement officer may stop a ship, board it and, if he thinks it necessary for the exercise of his functions, require it to be taken to a port in the State and detain it there.

(2) Where an enforcement officer is exercising his powers with the authority of the Minister for Foreign Affairs given under section 35 of this Act, the officer may require the ship to be taken to a port in the Convention state in question or, if that state has so requested, in any other country or territory willing to receive it.

(3) For any of the purposes of this Schedule an enforcement officer may require the master or any member of the crew to take such action as may be necessary.

(4) If an enforcement officer detains a ship, he shall serve on the master a notice in writing that it is to be detained until the notice is withdrawn by the service on him of a further notice in writing signed by an enforcement officer.

Power to search and obtain information

3. (1) An enforcement officer may search the ship, anyone on it and anything on it including its cargo.

(2) An enforcement officer may require any person on the ship to give information concerning himself or anything on the ship.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of the powers conferred by this paragraph, an enforcement officer may—

(a) open any container,

(b) make tests and take samples of anything on the ship,

(c) require the production of documents, books or records relating to the ship or anything on it,

(d) make photographs or copies of anything whose production he has power to require.

Powers in respect of suspected offence

4. If an enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence mentioned in section 33 or 34 of this Act has been committed on a ship to which that section applies he may—

(a) arrest without warrant anyone whom he has reasonable grounds for suspecting to be guilty of the offence, and

(b) seize and detain anything found on the ship which appears to him to be evidence of the offence,

and section 9 (1) of the Criminal Law Act, 1976 , shall apply in relation to anything seized under this paragraph.


5. (1) An enforcement officer may take with him, to assist him in exercising his powers—

(a) any other persons, and

(b) any equipment or materials.

(2) A person whom an enforcement officer takes with him to assist him may perform any of the officer's functions but only under the officer's supervision.

Use of reasonable force

6. An enforcement officer may use reasonable force, if necessary, in the performance of his functions.

Evidence of authority

7. An enforcement officer shall, if required, produce evidence of his authority.

Protection of officers

8. An enforcement officer shall not be liable in any civil or criminal proceedings for anything done in the purported performance of his functions under this Schedule if the court is satisfied that the act was done in good faith and that there were reasonable grounds for doing it.


9. (1) A person shall be guilty of an offence if he—

(a) intentionally obstructs an enforcement officer in the performance of any of his functions under this Schedule,

(b) fails without reasonable excuse to comply with a requirement made by an enforcement officer in the performance of those functions, or

(c) in purporting to give information required by an officer for the performance of those functions—

(i) makes a statement which he knows to be false in a material particular or recklessly makes a statement which is false in a material particular, or

(ii) intentionally fails to disclose any material particular.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this paragraph shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding £5,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or to both.