Written Answers. - Marine Accidents.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

81 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the progress made to date with regard to the review of safety measures on small watercraft announced by him on 13 August 2002; when it is expected to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10850/03]

The maritime safety directorate of my Department published a consultation paper late last year seeking views in respect of the adequacy of legislation regarding the carrying and wearing of life jackets or personal flotation devices, PFDs. The maritime safety directorate requested interested parties to respond by 31 December 2002. However, in order to encourage the widest possible participation in the consultation process replies were accepted until the end of January 2003.

More than 100 submissions were received and the Deputy will appreciate that these required detailed and careful consideration. The preliminary results have been collated and a report is now being drafted on the outcome of the review. When I receive the report and its recommendations, I will bring forward proposals for any necessary legislative change as quickly as possible thereafter.

As part of this review, the directorate has already brought forward the date for implementation of new safety regulations for passenger boats. A number of information seminars have also been organised to promote these new regulations. In addition, the directorate is also completing an examination of regulations applicable to larger domestic passenger ships and a consultation paper will be issued shortly in this regard.

Seán Ryan

Question:

82 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he has received the report of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board into the loss of four lives off Fethard-on-Sea on 28 July 2002, following the sinking of a sea angling vessel, the Pisces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10849/03]

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board is finalising the report of its investigation into the tragic accident off Fethard-on-Sea, which resulted in the deaths of five people. Under the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) Act 2000 the board is required to publish a report of any investigation it undertakes into a marine casualty after having sought and received the observations of parties likely to be adversely affected by publishing the report. The Act provides for a copy of the boards report to be transmitted to me as soon as it is published.

Under the statutory consultation procedure, a substantial volume of submissions and comments were submitted to the board to the extent that the board prepared a revised draft report. A copy of that revised draft has been issued to all parties likely to be adversely affected by its publication. I am advised that the board expects to be in a position to publish the report next month.