MCA to Launch Consultation on Merchant Shipping Safety Regulations

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Published Sep 24, 2020 3:35 PM by The Maritime Executive

Consultation is about to start on proposed amendments to regulations which would allow certain UK operators to use other legislation and potentially save them money.  

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency will begin their consultation on Merchant Shipping (Safety Standards for Passenger Ships on Domestic Voyages) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2020. 

The changes are mostly cosmetic, however, one main change within the amendments means passenger ships on domestic voyages of under 24 metres will be removed from the scope of the Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ships on Domestic Voyages) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/2687).   

These vessel operators will then need to apply suitable alternative legislation such as the Small Seagoing Passenger Ships code (SSPS code) or revert to suitable Class III – VI (A) regulations as appropriate. 

Although ships already comply with the international standards set out by the EU the MCA wants to bring UK legislation into line with current safety standards. As a result of bringing in an amending EU Directive, it will potentially bring financial benefits for the UK operators with vessels under 24m in length because they will be under different rules which may save them money. 

Gwilym Stone, Assistant Director, Ship Standards at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said, “As part of the MCA’s commitment to safety of life at sea, we want to maintain the high-quality safety standards for our seagoing domestic passenger fleet, and provide suitable alternatives for those ships under 24 metres in length. Potentially this could help save money for UK operators at a time when they need this support most. We’ve also negotiated for sailing ships to be excluded.”

The amended legislation would come into force by November 2020.  

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