Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) (Amendment) Act 2022

Amendment of section 18 of Act of 2000

9. The Act of 2000 is amended by the substitution of the following section for section 18:

“18. (1) Subject to this section, a person shall not, unless authorised by the Board or required or permitted by law to do so, disclose confidential information obtained by the person in his or her capacity, or while performing functions, as any of the following:

(a) Chairperson or other member of the Board;

(b) secretary of the Board;

(c) a consultant, adviser, investigator or provider of other skills or expertise engaged by the Board under section 16, or an employee of such a consultant, adviser, investigator or provider;

(d) a person engaged by the Board in any other capacity.

(2) Nothing in this section shall operate to prevent the disclosure of information to the Board.

(3) The High Court, on application to it under this section by a person whom the Court is satisfied has a sufficient interest in the disclosure of the information the subject of the application, may disclose, or authorise the disclosure of, any information that is confidential information where, in the view of the Court, there is an overriding public interest in the disclosure of the particular information concerned.

(4) Where, under this section, the Court orders the disclosure of information that is confidential information, it shall determine the terms and extent of such disclosure as it considers appropriate.

(5) A person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence.

(6) In this section, and without prejudice to the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018, ‘confidential information’ includes the following:

(a) all witness evidence and other statements, accounts and notes taken or received by the Board in the course of an investigation;

(b) records revealing the identity of persons who have given evidence in the context of an investigation;

(c) information relating to persons involved in a marine casualty that is of a particularly sensitive and private nature, including information concerning the health of such persons;

(d) subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2014 , information that is expressed by the Board to be confidential either as regards particular information or as regards information of a particular class or description.”.