MERCHANT SHIPPING (MINIMUM STANDARDS OF SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS)
REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/529)
7. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses
to these Regulations on the grounds that they make an unexpectedly
limited use of powers and that the Explanatory Note is incomplete.
These Regulations are made under section 2(2) of the European
Communities Act 1972 and implement the provisions in Council Directive
94/58/EC on the minimum level of training for seafarers. These
provisions require means for safe communication among the crew,
between the crew and shore-based authorities, and between the
crew and passengers, in emergency situations. Regulation 5 therefore
imposes a variety of duties on the owners and masters of ships
and hovercraft. These duties are intended to secure in part that
the vessel has effective means of communication (that is, equipment)
and in part that those of the crew who are to help passengers
are readily identifiable and have sufficient communication skills,
in particular language skills. To monitor compliance with these
requirements, regulation 7 confers on inspectors power to inspect
the vessel and if necessary to detain it. The Committee was uncertain
whether this power of inspection of the vessel is adequate for
the purpose of enforcing compliance with all of the requirements
of regulation 5, in particular those requirements relating to
the communications skills of the crew. The Department of Transport
accept in a memorandum printed in Appendix VI that mere inspection
of the vessel will not ensure compliance with all of the requirements
of regulation 5, and state that powers to inspect documents and
working arrangements and to question the crew may also be needed.
They add that comprehensive arrangements already exist for ship
inspections, and suggest that, in practice, these existing arrangements
will ensure compliance with all of the requirements of regulation
5. It is the view of the Committee that this argument is not convincing,
as inspection under other statutory powers can, as a matter of
law, only be used to secure the enforcement of the statutory requirements
for the purpose of enforcing which they are conferred. Hence,
since regulation 7 is limited to inspection of the vessel (and
its equipment), there are no legal powers available to secure
compliance with the other requirements of regulation 5. The Committee
therefore reports the Regulations on the ground that they constitute
an unexpectedly narrow exercise of the power.
Regulation 2(1) refers to two publications by the International
Maritime Organisation: the "Code for the Construction and
Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk"
and the "Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships
carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk". The Explanatory Note to
the Regulations does not indicate where copies of these publications
may be obtained, as it is required to do by paragraph 2.48 of
Statutory Instruments Practice. The Department state in their
memorandum that they regret this error and give the relevant address.
The Committee reports the Regulations on the ground that the Explanatory
Note is incomplete, acknowledged by the Department.
RESERVE FORCES ACT 1996 (TRANSITIONAL, CONSEQUENTIAL AND
SAVING PROVISIONS) REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/306)
8. The Committee draws the special attention of both Houses
to these Regulations on the grounds that they are defectively
drafted in two places.
Regulation 19 of the present Regulations substitutes a new
section 36 into the Reserve Forces Act 1980. New section 36(3)
makes section 75 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 apply to reservists
liable to recall under certain sections of the 1980 Act with a
substituted subsection (2). The Committee asked in relation to
subsection (2) whether the words "of the Reserve Forces Act
1996" (identifying section 73(a)) were superfluous, given
that the subsection was itself a provision of the 1996 Act. In
a memorandum printed in Appendix VII the Ministry of Defence agree
that the words are superfluous, and undertake to delete them at
the next convenient opportunity. The Committee reports new section
36(3)(b) for defective drafting, acknowledged by the Department.
Regulation 23 inserts a new section 83(1) into the 1980 Act.
The Committee asked whether the reference in sub-paragraph (a)
of that provision to paragraph 2 of Schedule 7 to the 1996 Act
should actually be to paragraph 1. The Department state in their
memorandum that the reference should be to paragraph 1 and that
they will correct the error at the next convenient opportunity.
The Committee reports new section 83(1)(a) for defective drafting,
acknowledged by the Department.
1 * The Orders of Reference of the Committee are
set out in the First Report, Session 1997-98 (HL Paper 4; HC 33-i). Back