Maritime Safety Act 2005

Directions, etc., to have vessels moved in the interests of safety of life at sea and marine security, etc.

38.—(1) The Minister or an authorised person for the purposes of—

(a) securing the safety and security of vessels, persons on vessels or persons or property adjacent to Irish waters,

(b) securing the proper operation of a port or harbour (including access to and from it and movement within its confines by vessels),

(c) securing safe navigable routes, or

(d) providing for the protection of a natural heritage area (within the meaning of Part 2) or a monument or wreck protected under the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2004,

may give directions, in accordance with subsection (3), to the owner or master of a vessel or a person who reasonably appears to him or her, to be in charge of the vessel, in Irish waters.

(2) If, in the opinion of the Minister or an authorised person, a direction under subsection (1) is not being complied with, the Minister or an authorised person, may take such action and do such things, in accordance with subsection (3), in relation to the vessel concerned or the stores, equipment or cargo of the vessel as appear, having regard to all the circumstances, to be necessary and reasonable for the purposes of enforcing subsection (1).

(3) A direction given, or action taken, under this section may include all or any of the following—

(a) the movement of a vessel in, out of, or beyond, the limits of Irish waters or to a specified place in such manner as may be specified,

(b) the restraint or control of a vessel or its movements and the attendance on the vessel of such tug-boats or other vessels as may be specified,

(c) the boarding of the vessel for the purposes of giving advice or assistance in relation to the movement, restraint or control of a vessel, or to assess any damage to the vessel which may prevent the carrying out of the movement, restraint or control of the vessel, and to take any measures deemed necessary to repair such damage,

(d) the temporary prevention or restriction on the navigation of a vessel within specified areas for the purposes of allowing any directions or actions under this section to be carried out safely, or

(e) the unloading of the stores, equipment, cargo or any other substance on a vessel, and the specification of the type or class of vessel by which any such operation of unloading is to be carried out.

(4) The Minister or an authorised person in the exercise of his or her powers under this section shall not unduly detain a vessel from proceeding on her voyage.

(5) The owner of a vessel is liable to pay to the Minister the expenses of the Minister or incidental to any action taken by the Minister or an authorised person under this section. Any such expenses may be recovered by the Minister, in a court of competent jurisdiction, as a debt due and payable to the Minister.

(6) A person who, without reasonable excuse—

(a) contravenes or fails to comply with a direction under this section, or

(b) obstructs a person who is complying with such a direction or an authorised person carrying out any action or doing anything under this section,

is guilty of an offence and is liable—

(i) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000, or

(ii) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €250,000.

(7) Where any expenses due under subsection (5) or a fine imposed on the owner or master of a vessel under subsection (6) is or are not duly paid the court may, without prejudice to any other powers for enforcing payment, direct that any amount of the expenses or fine remaining unpaid be levied by the distress and sale of such property, comprising the vessel, her equipment and stores, as the court thinks necessary.

(8) The Minister or an authorised person, or a person acting under the direction of the Minister or an authorised person, is not liable in any proceedings for any action taken in accordance with subsection (3) if the court is satisfied that the action was done in good faith and there were reasonable grounds for doing it.