1.By a letter dated 7th March 2018, the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments requested a memorandum on the following points:
Explain (i) the significant delay between the making and laying of this instrument and (ii) why this instrument does not contain a definition of “flag State” given that S.I. 2018/155 does contain a definition.
2.The Department apologises for the delay between making and laying these Regulations. The Department endeavours to plan and manage the laying of SIs in a systematic way and apologises for the lapse in doing so in a timely manner on this occasion.
3.Looking across the range of maritime instruments there is a divergence of approach as to whether the term “flag state” is defined or not. The instrument which these Regulations replace (S.I. 1996/3010) does not define the term, and it is also not defined in other more recent maritime instruments (for example S.I. 2016/1025 and S.I 2015/782). But, as the Committee has observed, it is defined in other instruments.
4.In deciding whether or not to define the term in this instrument the Department took into account the fact that the term “flag state” is well understood in the maritime industry. The concept of the “flag state” is embedded within the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the implementation of which provides some of the enabling powers for this instrument). The application of the MARPOL Convention (as set out in Article 3 of that Convention) is also expressly linked to ships entitled to fly the flag of a Party to the Convention (or those which operate under the authority of such a Party).
5.The Department’s view is therefore that the absence of a definition does not cause uncertainty for the industry or any other relevant person. The Department accepts however that, given the inclusion of such a definition in other instruments, it may have been prudent to include it and will endeavour to adopt a consistent approach in future relevant instruments.
Department for Transport
13 March 2018
Published: 22 March 2018