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SEA POLLUTION ACT, 1991
Surveys and inspections of ships.
17. —(1) The Minister, in order to establish that any ship or class of ship complies with the requirements of regulations under section 14 , may by regulations require that any ship, or ship of such class as may be specified in the regulations, its equipment and fittings be surveyed, inspected or tested in such manner and at such times as may be prescribed.
(2) All duties in respect of a survey, inspection or test for the purposes of regulations under this section shall be performed in accordance with the directions of the Minister by—
(a) a surveyor of ships, or
(b) an inspector appointed under section 20 for the purposes of this section.
(3) The owner or master of a ship shall submit the ship to such survey, inspection or test as may be prescribed and shall pay such fee as may be prescribed by order under subsection (5).
(4) If the surveyor of ships or other person appointed for the purposes of this section is satisfied that the ship, its equipment or fittings to which the survey relates complies with the requirements of this Act the Minister shall, on payment of the prescribed fee, cause to be issued a certificate of compliance with such requirements in such form and manner and subject to such conditions as he may prescribe.
(5) The Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, may by order prescribe the fees to be paid for surveys, inspections and tests carried out and certificates issued under this section.
(6) When a ship has been surveyed, inspected or tested pursuant to regulations made under this section and a certificate has been issued under subsection (4) in relation to such ship, no change, other than the replacement of any defective equipment or fittings, shall be made, without prior consent given by or on behalf of the Minister, in the structure, equipment and fittings of the ship.
(7) The owner and the master of a ship in respect of which there is a contravention of this section or regulations under this section shall be guilty of an offence.
Surveys on behalf of a MARPOL Convention country.
18. —(1) The Minister, at the request of the Government of another country which is a Party to the MARPOL Convention, may cause a ship registered in that country to be surveyed; in that case, sections 14 and 17 shall apply to such ship as if it were a ship registered in the State and the owner had submitted to the survey.
(2) A certificate issued under section 17 in respect of such a ship shall contain a statement that it has been issued at the request of the Government concerned.
(3) A copy of a survey report and a copy of a certificate made or issued in pursuance of this section shall be transmitted as soon as possible to the Government concerned.
Surveyors of ships.
19. —A surveyor of ships shall be an inspector for the purposes of this Act and shall, subject to such directions as may be given by the Minister, report to the Minister generally—
(a) whether the requirements of this Act are being complied with;
(b) what measures have been taken for the prevention of pollution caused by the escape from ships of oil, oily mixtures, noxious liquid substances, harmful substances, sewage or garbage;
(c) whether facilities exist in any harbour or any other place in the State for the discharge and disposal of such substances and whether such facilities are adequate.
Appointment of inspectors.
20. —(1) The Minister may, by warrant, appoint a person to be an inspector to carry out for the purposes of this Act such functions as are specified in the warrant.
(2) Every inspector appointed under subsection (1) shall be furnished with a warrant of his authority and, when exercising a function under this Act, shall, if requested, produce the warrant for inspection.
Powers of inspectors.
21. —(1) An inspector may do all such things as he considers necessary for the purpose of carrying out his functions under this Act.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) and any other provision of this Act, an inspector may—
(a) at any time, go on board any ship while the ship is in the State or an Irish ship anywhere and inspect the ship and all machinery, boats, equipment or fittings thereon and test any equipment on board the ship with which, under this Act, the ship is required to be fitted;
(b) inspect any document on board the ship and require any person on board to produce to him any document in his possession or control or to make return to any enquiry;
(c) require any person on board a ship to furnish him with his name and address;
(d) take samples of oil, oily mixtures, noxious liquid substances, harmful substances, sewage or garbage from any ship;
(e) copy any entry in any prescribed document or record and require the person by whom the document or record is kept to certify the copy as a true copy of the entry;
(f) copy any entry in any log book of the ship or other record on the ship and require the master of the ship to certify the copy as a true copy of the entry;
(g) at any time, enter any place, whether on land or at sea, and therein inspect—
(i) any container for the storage, or
(ii) any apparatus for the transfer to or from a ship,
of oil, oily mixtures, noxious liquid substances, harmful substances, sewage or garbage;
(h) by summons under his hand require any person to attend before him and examine him on oath (which the inspector is hereby authorised to administer);
(i) require a witness to make and subscribe a declaration of the truth of any statements made at his examination.
(3) A witness before an inspector shall be entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if he were a witness before the High Court and shall be allowed such expenses as would be allowed to a witness attending the High Court on a sub poena: and any dispute as to the amount of those expenses shall be referred to a Taxing Master who shall, on request made to him under the hand of an inspector, ascertain and certify the amount of the expenses.
(4) For the purpose of boarding a ship in order to exercise his functions under this Act, an inspector may require the master of the ship to take such measures and provide such facilities as may be necessary to enable him to go on board.
(5) An inspector may, for the purposes of this Act, require the master of a ship to be and remain on board whilst he is inspecting the ship and the inspector may require the master to answer any questions or to furnish any information which may appear to the inspector to be necessary or relevant.
(6) Any person who—
(a) on being summoned as a witness before an inspector and tendered the expenses to which he is entitled under this section, makes default in attending, or refuses to take an oath legally required by the inspector to be taken, or
(b) refuses or neglects to make any answer, or to give any return, or to produce any document, or to make or subscribe to any declaration, or to certify a copy of any entry which the inspector is entitled to require, or
(c) on being requested by an inspector to stop a ship for the purpose of enabling the inspector to board the ship in order to inspect it, fails or neglects to bring the ship to a stop, or
(d) wilfully impedes an inspector in the exercise of his functions under this Act,
shall be guilty of an offence.
Defective ship or equipment.
22. —(1) Where an inspector determines, having inspected a ship, that the ship or any equipment or fitting thereon—
(a) does not correspond substantially with the particulars specified in a certificate under section 17 or an equivalent certificate issued by another Party to the MARPOL Convention, or
(b) is so defective that the ship is not fit to put to sea without presenting a serious threat of damage to the marine environment,
the inspector shall direct the master forthwith to do everything that is necessary to ensure that—
(i) the ship or its equipment corresponds with the said particulars, or
(ii) any defect so determined by the inspector is remedied,
as the case may be.
(2) Without prejudice to any other power conferred on an inspector under this Act, an inspector to whom this section relates may detain a ship if he is satisfied that the ship (or its fittings or equipment) does not comply with a certificate referred to in subsection (1) or is so defective that the ship is not fit to put to sea without presenting a serious threat to living marine resources, until such time as any directions given by him under this section in relation to the ship have been complied with.
(3) An inspector shall take all such steps as appear to him to be necessary to ensure that a ship in relation to which he has given directions under this section will not put to sea or leave harbour for the purpose of proceeding to the nearest repair yard, without presenting an undue threat of damage to living marine resources.
(4) Any person who—
(a) fails to comply with a direction of any inspector under this section, or
(b) puts to sea, or attempts to put to sea, otherwise than in accordance with this Act, a ship which has been detained by an inspector under subsection (2),
shall be guilty of an offence.
(5) Without prejudice to any prosecution which may be brought pursuant to subsection (4), if the master of a ship registered in the State does not comply with a direction of an inspector under this section, the inspector shall forthwith report the fact of such failure to the Minister and the Minister, having considered the report of the inspector and such other information in relation to such failure as he reasonably considers to be necessary or relevant, may direct that a certificate under section 17 issued in relation to the ship be withdrawn.
Refusal of entry of ships into harbour or State.
23. —(1) A harbour-master may refuse entry into the harbour over which he has control to a ship which he has reasonable cause to believe—
(a) does not comply with the requirements of this Act, or
(b) would cause a serious threat of damage to flora or fauna, living marine resources, the harbour or other ships,
unless the entry of the ship is necessary for the purpose of saving life.
(2) Where the Minister or a person appointed by the Minister under subsection (4) to act on his behalf is satisfied that a ship is a ship to which paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1) relates, he may, in his absolute discretion, by direction prohibit the entry of the ship into the State or into a harbour or require the ship to leave the State or a harbour and, in either case, to comply with such conditions as may be specified.
(3) If a harbour-master has refused entry under subsection (1), the Minister, or a person appointed by him under subsection (4) to act on his behalf, may direct the harbour-master to permit the ship to enter, and to comply with such conditions as may be specified by the Minister or the person appointed under subsection (4), following consultation with the harbour-master, in which case the harbour-master shall permit the ship to enter the harbour upon such conditions, and the master of the ship shall comply with those conditions.
(4) The Minister may by warrant appoint a person to act on his behalf for the purposes of subsections (2) and (3) and that person shall be furnished with a warrant and, when exercising a function under this section, shall, if requested, produce the warrant for inspection.
(5) The Minister may by regulations provide, in respect of ships generally or ships of any prescribed class, for—
(a) the giving by the owner or master of a ship of notice of the entry or intended entry of the ship into the State and of its passage and destination while in the State and such other information relating to the ship and its cargo as may be prescribed;
(b) preventing the entry of a ship or of a ship carrying a specified cargo into the State if he has reasonable cause to believe it will cause serious threat of hazards to human health, damage to human life, harm to living marine resources, or harm to flora or fauna, or damage to amenities, or interference with legitimate uses of the sea.
(6) The owner, the master and any person who fails to comply with a direction, or the requirements of regulations, under this section shall be guilty of an offence.
Detention of ships.
24. —(1) Whenever an inspector or a harbour-master has reasonable cause to believe that a ship has caused or may cause pollution and the ship is in the State, he may stop and detain the ship.
(2) The powers conferred on a harbour-master by subsection (1) may only be exercised whilst the ship concerned is within the harbour over which he has control.
(3) Any ship which is detained pursuant to section 22 (2) or subsection (1) of this section shall be released if—
(a) the inspector or the harbour-master is reasonably satisfied that the ship no longer presents a serious threat to living marine resources or has ceased to be a cause of pollution, as the case may be, or
(b) the inspector is of the opinion that the ship can put to sea or leave the harbour for the purpose of proceeding to the nearest repair yard without presenting an undue threat of damage to flora or fauna or to living marine resources, and—
(i) the master of the ship undertakes to have the defect in the ship, or its equipment, whereby the ship is a cause of pollution, remedied, and
(ii) the owner of the ship puts forward security which, in the opinion of the inspector, is satisfactory for the payment of the cost of remedying any pollution damage which may be caused by the ship whilst it is on its voyage to the nearest repair yard.
(4) If a ship which has been detained pursuant to this section leaves or attempts to leave any harbour or other place otherwise than in accordance with this section the owner and the master of the ship shall each be guilty of an offence and the ship, wherever it may be, may be detained, or be further detained, by an inspector or by a harbour-master in his harbour.
(5) An inspector or a harbour-master, in the exercise of his powers under this Act, shall not unduly detain or delay a ship.
Powers of harbour-masters.
25. —(1) Without prejudice to any other power conferred by this Act, a harbour-master, in the case of any ship which may be in the harbour over which he has control, may—
(a) go on board the ship and inspect, for the purposes of ascertaining the circumstances relating to an alleged discharge of any oil, oily mixture, noxious liquid substance, harmful substance, sewage or garbage into the harbour, the ship and its machinery and any boats, equipment, cargo or articles on board;
(b) require the production of and inspect any record or other document required to be kept, under this Act or otherwise;
(c) copy any entry in any such record or document and require the master of the ship or the person by whom the record or document is kept to certify that the copy is a true copy.
(2) Any person who—
(a) fails to comply with a requirement of a harbour-master under this section, or
(b) wilfully impedes a harbour-master in the exercise of his functions under this section,
shall be guilty of an offence.
Powers of Minister to prevent, mitigate or eliminate pollution.
26. —(1) Subject to subsection (6), the Minister or any person authorised by him (an “authorised person”) may for the purpose of preventing, mitigating or eliminating danger from pollution or threat of pollution by oil, or by any substance other than oil as defined in subsection (10), following upon a maritime casualty or acts related to such a casualty, give such directions as seem to him to be appropriate to—
(a) the owner or master of the ship; or
(b) any person who is, or who reasonably appears to the Minister or authorised person to be, in charge of the ship; or
(c) any salvor who is in possession of the vessel and is in charge of a salvage operation; or
(d) such other person, to whom it may appear reasonable and necessary to the Minister or authorised person to give directions.
(2) The Minister or authorised person in the exercise of his power under this section, shall not unduly detain or delay a ship from proceeding on its voyage.
(3) Subject to subsection (6), if, in the opinion of the Minister, the powers conferred by subsection (1) are, or have proved to be, inadequate for the purpose, the Minister, or authorised person, may take such action and do such things in relation to the ship concerned or its stores, equipment or cargo as appear, having regard to all the circumstances, to be necessary and reasonable for the purpose of preventing, mitigating or eliminating the effects of pollution arising from a maritime casualty.
(4) Without prejudice to the generality of any powers conferred by this section any directions given, or action taken, under this section may include—
(a) the movement of a ship in, out of, or beyond, the limits of a harbour or to a specified place in such manner as may be specified;
(b) the restraint or control of a ship or its movements and the attendance on the ship of such tug-boats, salvage vessels, other craft or aircraft as may be specified;
(c) the boarding of the ship, for the purposes of assessing the damage thereto or the giving of advice or assistance in relation to the repairing of such damage;
(d) the unloading, discharge or transfer from a ship of any oil or oily mixture, whether carried on the ship in bulk as cargo or carried in the bunkers of the ship as fuel, and the unloading of the stores, equipment, cargo or any other substance on a ship;
(e) the specification of the type or class of vessel by which any such operation of unloading, discharging or transfer is to be carried out;
(f) the storage or other disposal of any oil, oily mixture, stores, equipment, cargo or any other substance unloaded, discharged or transferred from a ship;
(g) the taking, or the restriction on taking, of specified salvage measures in relation to a ship or any oil, oily mixture, stores, equipment, cargo or any other substance;
(h) the sinking, destruction or taking over of control of a ship.
(5) (a) The powers conferred by this section may be exercised if, but only if, the Minister or authorised person has reasonable grounds for believing that, following upon a maritime casualty or acts related to such a casualty, there is grave and imminent danger of major harmful consequences through pollution to the coastline or to related interests.
(b) In this subsection “related interests” means the interests of the State and the health and well-being of its citizens and, without prejudice to the foregoing, includes—
(i) the health of the coastal population and the well-being of any area concerned;
(ii) marine resources, flora and fauna, and the habitats of such flora and fauna;
(iii) maritime coastal, port or estuarine activities, including fisheries activities, which constitute means of livelihood for persons concerned;
(iv) the tourist attractions of any area concerned.
(6) The Minister shall furnish an authorised person with a certificate of his authority and that person shall, if requested, produce the certificate for inspection.
(7) Any person who—
(a) wilfully contravenes, or fails to comply with, a direction under this section, or
(b) wilfully obstructs a person who is acting in compliance with such a direction,
shall be guilty of an offence.
(8) Every person who complies with a direction under this section shall take all possible means to avoid any risk to human life and, in a prosecution of a person for failure to comply with a direction under this section, it shall be a defence for the person to establish that he had reasonable grounds for believing that compliance with the direction would have involved a serious risk to human life.
(9) The owner of a ship shall be liable to pay to the Minister the expenses of or incidental to any action taken by the Minister or an authorised person in pursuance of this section and those expenses shall, without prejudice to any other remedy, be recoverable as salvage is recoverable.
(10) In this section—
“oil” means crude oil, fuel oil, diesel oil and lubricating oil;
“ship” does not include any installation or device engaged in the exploration and exploitation of the resources of the sea-bed and the ocean floor and the subsoil thereof;
“substance other than oil”, referred to in subsection (1), means any substance in a list annexed to the Intervention Protocol and any other substance which is liable to create hazards to human health, to harm living resources and marine life, to damage amenities or to interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea.
Right to recover compensation from Minister.
27. —(1) Any person who establishes that any measures taken outside the territorial waters of the State pursuant to section 26 in relation to a ship registered in the State or in a country which is a party to the Intervention Convention went beyond what were reasonably necessary to achieve their purpose shall be entitled to recover compensation from the Minister either by an award referred to in subsection (3) or in any court of competent jurisdiction for any loss or damage caused to that person by reason of the fact that such measures exceeded those reasonably necessary to achieve that purpose.
(2) In considering whether a person is entitled to recover compensation from the Minister pursuant to subsection (1), account shall be taken of—
(a) the extent and probability of imminent damage if those measures had not been taken;
(b) the likelihood of those measures being effective; and
(c) the extent of the damage caused by such measures.
(3) An arbitration award under the Intervention Convention on a claim for compensation to which subsection (1) relates shall be deemed to be an arbitration award under the Arbitration Act, 1954 .
Orders concerning Conventions and Protocols.
28. —If the Minister is satisfied that—
(a) any country (other than the State) has accepted or denounced the Intervention Convention, the Intervention Protocol or the MARPOL Convention or any Convention or Protocol which has been ratified by the State and which amends or extends any such Convention or Protocol, or
(b) any such Convention or Protocol extends, or ceases to extend, to any territory,
he may by order so declare.