Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments First Report


Memorandum by the Department of the Environtment, Transport and the Regions


  1. The Committee asked for a memorandum on the following points:

(1)  Regulation (2)(2) provides that "pleasure vessel" has the meaning given to it by the Merchant Shipping (Vessels in Commercial Use for Sport or Pleasure) Regulations 1998. Explain why this provision, instead of referring the reader to the definition in the 1998 Regulations, does not set out that definition.

(2)  Regulations 6(2) and 7(1) impose duties on the master, owner and any other relevant person or corporate body to provide information about, and to keep certain material relevant to, a reportable accident. Explain the description of person intended to be caught by the underlined expression and why it is not defined, given that contravention of regulations 6(2) and 7(1) is an offence under regulation 14.

(3)  Explain why regulations 6(2) and 7(1) refer to a corporate body, given that the Interpretation Act 1978 (in Schedule 1) defines "person" in legislation as including a body of persons corporate or unincorporate.

Point (1)

  2. The definition of "pleasure vessel" is a complicated one which incorporates six separate paragraphs and 23 lines of printed text. The definition remains constant throughout current secondary legislation on merchant shipping. It was therefore considered convenient to shorten the drafting of the Regulations by referring to a previous use of the full definition. It is also considered that such a reference back signals that the definition of pleasure vessel previously used in Merchant Shipping legislation is being applied unchanged.

Point (2)

  3. In the context of regulation 6(2) the persons caught by the expression "relevant person" are persons other than the master and owner who have information "concerning the accident and any remedial action taken as a result". In the context of regulation 7(1) the persons caught by the expression "relevant person" are persons other than the master and owner who have "charts, log books, voyage data and other records, electronic and magnetic recording and video tapes and all documents which might reasonably be considered pertinent to an accident reportable under regulation 5". The Department considers that, in the context of regulations 6(2) and 7(1), the scope of the reference to "relevant person" is sufficiently clear and certain not to require further definition.

  4. In the investigation of an accident at sea, the master and the owner of a vessel may not be available to the investigation. There may however be many other persons who have interests in a ship, including ship managers, charterers, agents, insurers, mortgagees, etc., and who may have information concerning the accident, for instance through information as to the cargo on board or information on the movements of the ship obtained through satellite tracking systems. Given that many different persons may have different types of interests as respects a vessel, it is only considered practicable to define these persons by reference to the information they hold regarding an accident.

Point (3)

  5. The Department accepts that the inclusion of the phrase "or corporate body" in regulations 6(2) and 7(1) is unnecessary and notes the point for the future.

8 November 1999

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