Maritime Legislation has both a national and international dimension to ensure that the maritime industry adheres to a clear, structured approach for the safe transport of goods and people. Responsibility for enforcement of international maritime legal standards lies with the offices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
National Maritime Legislation
As part of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Maritime Safety Directorate, (comprised of the Marine Survey Office (MSO) and the Maritime Safety Policy Division), is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution of the marine environment from ship-based sources in Irish Ports and territorial waters. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport issue a number of Marine Notices throughout the year. Marine Notices are information notices issued by the Department to publicise important safety, regulatory and other information relating to maritime affairs in Ireland. They are circulated to a wide range of individuals and organisations, including State Agencies, international shipping, the fishing industry and water-based recreational groups.
A full list of Marine Notices can be found here.
A number of acts have been passed through the Irish parliament in recent years in order to provide modern legislative guidance and assist in the future growth and development of national ports and shipping policy.
The most recent relevant legislation includes:
Harbours Bill 2015
The Harbours Bill 2015 was enacted to provide the necessary legal basis to allow for the transfer by Ministerial Order of the control of the five state owned ports of regional significance to local authority led government structures.
Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Act 2014
The Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Act 2014 is currently awaiting commencement. While the registration of ships still falls under the Mercantile Marine Act 1955, the 2014 Act was enacted to eventually replace and update the Mercantile Marine Act 1955. The legislation sets out a framework for the establishment and regulation of a modern and comprehensive ship registration system.
Maritime Area and Foreshore (Amendment) Bill 2013
The Bill will streamline the development consent process for the foreshore, including the integration of certain parts of the foreshore consent process (under the Foreshore Act 1933) with the existing on-land planning system. When enacted it will have significant implications for future marine development and management in Ireland.
EU Registration of Persons Sailing on board Passenger Ships (Amendment) Regulations 2015
This directive seeks to improve the safe transport of passengers by sea. Its aim is to ensure the number of passengers on board does not exceed the number for which the ship and safety equipment has been certified, and to facilitate search and rescue activities following an accident.
ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006
Ireland has ratified the Maritime Labour convention. As a party to the Convention, Ireland will implement the requirements contained therein, both for Irish-flagged ships and for international ships calling at Irish ports. The Maritime Labour Convention sets standards for working and living conditions for seafarers.