Mercantile Marine Bill, 1955—Committee Stage.

Section 1 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In sub-section (1), line 35, to delete "established" and insert "incorporated".

The reason I set down this amendment was in order to seek clarification of the definition of "Irish body corporate" as given in the Bill. In the Bill, it is defined as a body corporate established under and subject to the law of the State and having its principal place of business in the State.

I am not clear whether it is intended that that would include a company incorporated outside the State which has filed its particulars in the companies office here and has a place of business in the State. The wording used here is rather different from the wording in Section 62 which speaks of an Irish body corporate and, in Section 19, there is another wording. While in my amendment I have suggested the alteration of the word "established" to the word "incorporated", I have made that suggestion simply because it seems to be the sense of the Bill and it would be desirable that there should not be any ambiguity. My own feeling is that it is desirable that we should have as many ships as possible under the Irish flag.

The term "established" is the term used in a similar context in Section 1 (d) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. The parliamentary draftsman has been consulted and he would prefer to retain this term which is well recognised and is broader than the term "incorporated". Moreover, the phrase in the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, viz. "bodies corporate established under and subject to the laws of some part of Her Majesty's Dominions and having their principal place of business in those Dominions" has been the subject of judgments in the courts here and elsewhere and it would be better, therefore, to retain the word which has been accepted and recognised in this context for many years.

I take that as meaning that the Minister interprets it as meaning a company incorporated elsewhere, but which has registered particulars here.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

I notice that in the interpretation it says that a consular officer includes any officer, whether he is or is not in the Civil Service. In the subsequent paragraph, it says that "diplomatic officer" means a person in the Civil Service of the State who is an ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary, an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, a chargé d'affaires, a counsellor of embassy or legation, a secretary of embassy or legation, or an attaché. Does that mean that a person, to be in the diplomatic service, must be a civil servant? I could envisage a position where an eminent doctor or eminent statesman, an eminent member of this House, or anyone in any walk of life other than in the public service, might be selected for the position of an Irish ambassador or diplomat abroad. Would such a person be precluded from acting in this capacity under this Bill unless he were a civil servant?

It would be a pity if everything in this country were made entirely careerist. I should like to see maybe ideas of voluntary service or recognition of voluntary service given by voluntary institutions from time to time. If this is an effort to preclude people who are not in the Civil Service from holding these offices, I think it would not be in the best interests of the State.

It is a difficulty only for the purposes of this Bill.

For the purposes of this particular Bill? Would the Parliamentary Secretary have the position examined later? I think it would be a pity——

That is a different question, Senator.

I am not sure it is. The Senator suggests that if there was an Irish diplomat abroad who was not a civil servant, he would not have the power given to the consular officer under this Bill.

The question is: That Section 2 stand part of the Bill.

I submit that we have not considered this matter carefully enough yet to decide whether this section, as it stands, should or should not be incorporated in the Bill.

Normally, what would happen is that the person, on appointment, would be made a civil servant.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2:—

In lines 24 and 25 to delete "which are wholly manned by personnel of that service".

Section 3 provides that the Act shall not apply to ships of the Naval Service of the Defence Forces which are wholly manned by personnel of that service. I would suggest that the words "which are wholly manned by personnel of that service" should be omitted.

The intention of this section is to make it possible to bring within the scope of the Act certain vessels owned by the Department of Defence which are wholly or partly manned by civilians and used for nonmilitary purposes. These include the ferry vessel used in Cork Harbour, as well as supply and stores vessels. It is desirable that some of these vessels should be brought within the Merchant Shipping Acts, so that their operations could be made subject to compliance with the law as regards manning, safety measures, etc. No State-owned ship will, however, become subject to the provisions of the Bill, unless the Government make an Order as provided in Section 17 of the Bill. The effect of the amendment moved by the Senator would be to exclude entirely from the scope of the Act all vessels of the Naval Service owned by the Department of Defence. This exclusion would be undesirable, particularly in the case of vessels which would contain either civilian crew or civilian passengers.

Mr. Douglas

I listened to the explanation given by the Parliamentary Secretary. I understand that from time to time there are personnel of Her Majesty's Naval Service on loan to the Naval Service of the Defence Forces. They may come to give instructional courses and would be part of the ship.

They are not the recognised crew of the ship.

Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary would consider the wording between now and the next Stage. As a lawyer, it seems to me that a good deal of confusion will arise, and possibly difficulties, in deciding whether a ship is or is not under the Act, because obviously it is possible that the ship might at one time be wholly manned and, at another time, partly manned. I think it is undesirable in an important Act of this kind that the opportunity should be given to lawyers to raise a point of that kind.

This provision is provided in consultation with the Minister for Defence. We will look into the matter.

I will withdraw the amendment if the Parliamentary Secretary looks into the matter.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 3 agreed to.
Sections 4 to 9, inclusive, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In sub-section (3), line 47, before "the" to insert "or in addition to".

My amendment is to provide that the Minister may authorise any body or person to use a flag in lieu of the national flag. I take it that the kind of flag that the Minister envisages here might possibly be a flag issued to the Naval Service, or possibly a flag issued by warrant to a yacht club, or a flag issued by warrant to a shipping company. The suggestion I make is that, instead of the words "in lieu of", the words "or in addition to" be inserted, so as to enable such a special warrant flag to be flown along with the national flag, if it were so desired. As it stands, the section appears to exclude the national flag.

The section re-enacts the provision of Section 2, sub-section (3) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1947. The intention is that special flags authorised by warrant from the Minister should be flown instead of, and not as well as, the national flag. This is also the practice in Britain. The special flags which would be prescribed would also contain the national colours.

If the special flags contain the national colours, then I withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 10 agreed to.

I move amendment No. 4:—

In sub-section (1), line 51, after "colours" to add "except on the foremast".

This amendment is to deal with what I understand to be the universal practice, that is, that a ship coming into an Irish port from a port abroad would fly the flag of the country it has left and vice versa. I understand that practice is universal. I believe that, in the 1947 Act, there is a similar section. It would appear that all ships have adhered to this universal international custom. The amendment, as worded by me originally, is, I think, defective. I am told it should be “except on the foremast”. I understand this point might be of some little importance. As the section stands, Irish ships will have either to break the law of courtesy, or else the ordinary law.

The courtesy flying of the flag of another State when entering ports of that State is a well-established international custom and is, in some South American States, the law of the land. Section 11, as drafted, however, is merely a re-enactment of Section 3 (1) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1947, and that section, in turn, re-enacts the substance of Section 73 (2) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. The apparent contradiction between the law and established custom has given rise to no difficulty or misunderstanding at any time, and it has been accepted by all authorities concerned that the courtesy flying of a foreign flag does not constitute the hoisting of a flag distinctive of nationality, in the sense of this section. Moreover, it might be dangerous, without very full consideration, to give recognition under our law to a practice which is, as yet, merely custom and which has not, so far, been officially recognised in international law.

Mr. Douglas

I appreciate the Parliamentary Secretary's point of view that, if there was a clause in an Act of 1894 which was incorporated in an Act of 1947, we should not in the year 1955 adopt a section which in fact, and not in practice, has proved bad law. It appears to me that Section 11, as it stands, would mean that every Irish ship entering the port of Montreal or New York and which out of courtesy flies the Canadian flag or the American flag on its foremast is, in fact, breaking the Merchant Shipping Act, 1947, and would break the Act we now propose to amend. I consider that it would be quite wrong for us to continue this practice. Let us either tell our ships that they are not in future to fly the flag of any other nationality, or amend this Bill to see that international practice is covered. Would the Parliamentary Secretary give us an assurance that he will look into the matter further and submit a suitable amendment?

I rise to support Senator Douglas. I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to produce some evidence to the House that this custom is not recognised by international law. My contention is that this custom is recognised by international law and that the statement that it is not is not accurate. There is no excuse for the Government not submitting a suitable amendment on the Report Stage.

I should like to support this amendment as strongly as I can. It seems clear to me that if some trouble-maker wanted to make trouble for Irish shipping in the future, he could wait for an opportunity when Irish ships flew a courtesy flag and take an action. Under the law as we are asked to make it, he would have a very strong case. I doubt, although I am not a lawyer, on grounds of common sense, whether a judge could rule against the clear meaning of the Act. This is an amendment worthy of praise. Here we are given an opportunity of improving legislation. Surely that is what we are here for?

I should like to support the amendment for the same reasons. I do not agree with the Parliamentary Secretary's suggestion that, because this law has been successfully ignored for a very long time, we should continue to make it law in the confident hope that it will be ignored in the future. I should be much happier if the amendment were passed.

The flag on the foremast would not normally be regarded as a flag distinctive of nationality. There has never been any case which can be traced so far in which the present position has caused any difficulty whatever. When it is merely a custom which has not been legally recognised, I do not think there is any necessity for bringing it into this section.

I should like to press this amendment. I think the point is of some importance. It is also important that we should not pass a section that we do not mean. That can only tend to bring the law into contempt. I would press the Minister on the matter.

I intend to press the amendment, too. I cannot accept the Parliamentary Secretary's statement that the wearing of a flag at the foremast is not considered the wearing of an international flag. I agree with everything Senator Cox says. I think that, on this matter, the advice being tendered is not at all accurate. My knowledge of seafaring matters is admittedly small, but I have a little, and I cannot accept any of these statements the Parliamentary Secretary has made.

There appears to be some slight procedural difficulty here. Apparently the amendment is not quite satisfactory to deal with what is wanted, and if we pass this amendment now, is it possible to amend it further on the Report Stage? I am fully in support of and sympathetic with the principle behind this amendment, but, as Senator Cox has said, it does not seem to be quite adequate to cover all the possible contingencies.

Mr. Douglas

It is customary, in the case of shipping going abroad, for the national flag to be flown on the stern flag mast while in port and on the main mast while at sea. It is often flown on what is known as the jack mast. When it is on the jack mast, the national flag may have a white border, provided for elsewhere in this Bill. The position is that when Irish ships are entering a foreign port, it would be customary to fly the flag of that nation on the foremast, but on returning to Ireland from a foreign port, it would be customary, in a slightly different position, to fly the flag of the nation from which it has arrived. That is the only difficulty in this amendment in our name, that in arriving at your home port, you do not fly the flag on the foremast, but in a slightly different position of the rigging. I do not think it would be a very serious matter for Irish ships if they had to return to their home and fly the flag of a foreign country on the foremast, and it would not be very serious if we accept the amendment, because it would not in any way affect international custom.

As I have already stated, this is a well established international custom. There have not been any law proceedings about it in any country, but, as Senators all seem to be anxious to have it altered, I will look into the matter before the Report Stage and see if some amendment which will meet the Senator's views is required.

I thank the Parliamentary Secretary.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 11 agreed to.
Sections 12 to 15, inclusive, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:—

To add a new paragraph as follows:—

(e) a person who at the relevant date is and has been for the previous five years ordinarily and principally resident in the State.

The only persons who are qualified persons are the Government, a Minister of State, an Irish citizen or an Irish body corporate. The amendment I am proposing is to include persons who have been at the relevant date for a long time resident in this country. I appreciate, of course, that the Bill does provide for the possibility of reciprocal arrangements between this country and another country, but it is quite possible that there might be people who are not citizens and have been long resident here who would give great service to this country by helping in Irish shipping—and, indeed, so far as I know, there might be such people in existence at the present moment. This Bill is an extraordinarily drastic one, because, not alone does it say in various places that things are not to be done, but it goes so far as to say that a ship or a share in a ship owned by an unqualified person is to be forfeited.

I have no knowledge whether there are such persons, but I am sure there are, who are not Irish citizens, but are resident here and own shares in Irish ships. It is quite possible that they might find their interests forfeited before a reciprocity agreement was entered into. In any event, I think this is a proper provision to make—that even an alien who is not a citizen but has been long resident here, should have certain rights. The Control of Manufactures Act, of which personally I strongly disapprove, did make provision in favour of a person resident here. I would suggest that it would be a very wrong and, indeed, an unwise thing to provide that such a person could not have a share in an Irish ship.

My own view is that the present Bill is unwise in many ways in seeking to limit so very strictly what ships can be under the Irish flag. I should have thought that it would have been all in our interest to have done everything we could to encourage more ships to come under the Irish flag. It seems to me that this Bill is restrictive and may have directly the contrary result to what we would all wish—to help in the strengthening of the Irish marine service—just as, in my opinion, the Control of Manufactures Act, instead of helping nationally, has hindered nationally. I would ask that provision should be made that a person who, at the relevant date, is here, and has been for the previous five years ordinarily and principally resident in the State, should be a qualified person, capable of holding validly a share in an Irish ship.

If what Senator Cox says is true, that a person not ordinarily resident in this State can have his rights taken without compensation, it is a matter about which I feel we might want to put down an amendment on the next stage.

An alien who is resident in the State for five years is entitled to apply for naturalisation. If he were naturalised, he would acquire the right to register his ship in this country under (b) of Section 16. In any case, it would be open to him to form a company established under and subject to the law of the State and having its principal place of business in the State. It should scarcely be necessary, therefore, to include special provisions in the Act to enable such a person to register a ship.

The Parliamentary Secretary in his reply has mentioned that such a person can get around the Act by registering a company here and holding shares in the company. Like other lawyers, I have made part of my living, quite honestly, by such an expedient under the Control of Manufactures Acts, but I really think that this kind of legislation under which you can do things by being clever and by forming a company in a particular way, while it is very profitable to me, is not really desirable.

I do not know what the feeling of this House is, but I quite definitely think it is wrong that a person who has been resident here for a considerable time, even if he is not a citizen, should not hold an interest in a ship. From the purely legal point of view, I think the point I have made is correct, that, if there is a person at present who is not a citizen, not a limited company, and who holds an interest in an Irish ship, he may find his interest forfeited before this State had made a reciprocal agreement with the country to which he, by his nationality, might belong. This is not a trivial amendment. It is an important point, and I would like to press the amendment.

I wish to support this amendment. I do so for somewhat academic reasons. In the honourable Republic of the Athenians there was a class of citizen called "resident aliens" who were given full privileges of citizenship in matters of this kind, such as shipping business. They were of very great value to the Athenian State. Any ancient historian, I believe, would support that. Resident aliens in our community might be of equal value, so, on the basis of ancient history, as well as modern expediency, I would support this amendment.

I would be in favour of this amendment also. Like Senator Cox, I disapproved of the Control of Manufactures Act and had a good deal to do with it, in the sense of discussing it from time to time. As Senator Cox says, the ingenuity of the legal profession is very largely exercised in evading that Act. Now we find a complete change of front in regard to Government policy with respect to the Control of Manufactures Act, that aliens and foreigners, generally regarded as in some way or other objectionable people to start factories, are being urged and invited and pressed and persuaded to do so. This section is objectionable because of the ideology behind it. It says that foreigners should not be allowed to take part in Irish business. That is really what it comes to. I agree with Senator Cox that it is illiberal, restrictive, and, like the Control of Manufactures Act, might become a dead letter through evasion; and finally the whole policy of the State may change. I ask the Minister to reconsider it.

Arising out of the Parliamentary Secretary's reply, supposing an alien has been five years resident in the Republic and then wishes to acquire this necessary control and applies for nationality, does that mean that he has to forego his original nationality? Supposing we have somebody from the Balkans resident here for five years who applies for Irish naturalisation in order to possess a ship, will he have to give up his original nationality, and, if so, is it fair to ask him?

I was astonished, and, I must say, rather shocked, that the Parliamentary Secretary should suggest that this legislation which we have under review here this evening should be allowed to stand for the reason that it can be evaded. Legislation that can be evaded is bad legislation. Surely we in this House should, if we humanly can, formulate legislation that cannot be evaded.

There seems to be a good deal of reason in this amendment, but there is one question I should like to put to the proposers and supporters of it. Might it not be extremely dangerous, in a time of war, to have a number of Irish ships owned by aliens, not responsible to our Government, who would perhaps clear out of the country just before the war? It strikes me that it would be rather dangerous.

In reply to that point, there was no limitation generally up to recent years on the ownership of ships. For instance, in England one could own a ship or a share in a ship. The policy here should be to try to build up our mercantile marine, that is to say, a marine which is subject to ourselves and run from this country. Someone, in a debate on some other subject here the other day, compared our position with the position of Norway—a very, very small country, with a population only about the size of ours—which is a wealthy country because she has a great marine and the Norse flag is flown in every part of the world. We should try to build up something of that kind here and not tie the whole thing up so much in green paper as to make it impossible for enterprising people to come here and help us.

Mr. Douglas

I would like to support Senator Cox in his amendments. I think Senator McHugh's objection is not really sound. If a ship is registered in an Irish port, it would not be possible to transfer it to another port, without the permission of the Minister. I feel that, in time of war, that permission would not be forthcoming. At the present time, we are encouraging aliens to bring capital in to set up new industries. We had the Industrial Development Authority not very long ago trying to set up new industries here; yet in this Bill we are proposing to make it impossible for those aliens to bring in shipping to have it registered here. Shipping is a form of investment and it would be desirable to give every possible opportunity to people from abroad to come in here and take up residence, and, if possible, to bring more shipping in.

I wish the Parliamentary Secretary would reply also to the question which I raised on confiscation. Confiscation of the rights of people living outside the country would cause the greatest uncertainty and would defeat anyone helping to build up a mercantile marine here. Norway is a country with a population not very much larger than ours. Her flag is fourth amongst the world's tonnage. That probably in large measure is due to the wise laws enacted to encourage the growth of shipping there.

I am all in favour of building up our mercantile marine, but I think it is possible to build it up by some other method than alien capital, that we could invest our own capital in it. I cannot understand the validity of Senator Cox's argument—because he gives no evidence that the mercantile marine of the Norwegians is owned to any large extent by aliens. Was that his contention? Is it not owned by Norwegians?

Of course I am perfectly certain it is owned by Norwegians mostly, but they need not all be so owned. My point is that a likely kind of person who might be qualified to own a ship, or be interested in Irish shipping, might be a person resident here for a considerable period, even though not an Irish citizen. Such a person can own many other kinds of goods and property, and I cannot see why the possible part ownership of a ship should not extend to him also.

I would not agree with Senator Crosbie's definition that any legislation which can be evaded is bad legislation. My experience over a number of years is that watertight legislation is practically impossible, and, if it is not watertight, I suppose it could be called bad. With regard to the amendment, one point strikes me. In this category—the Government, a Minister of State, an Irish citizen and an Irish body corporate—if you insert "a resident alien," what happens when the resident alien who has acquired a ship, or an interest in a ship, ceases to be a resident? Would that not need to be dealt with in the amendment? That is to say, if we are going to provide in Section 16 for a resident alien, will we not also have to provide for what happens to his shares or his control when he ceases to be resident or goes back to his own country? Surely some provision would have to be made?

My amendment said "for the previous five years", so if this person were to go away, he would cease to be qualified.

The company would have to remove him, then? Surely a person resident here for five years might become a citizen? It is quite easy. I am wondering what happens when he ceases to be qualified? I do not profess to be an expert on this matter, or to understand completely the relevance between Sections 16 and 19, but would the insertion of this amendment have any effect on the reciprocity provisions of Section 19? I merely ask the question.

In reply to the questions by Senator Burke and Senator Cox about forfeiture, no alien other than a British subject does or could own an Irish ship at present, so there is no danger of such a ship, or share therein, being forfeited at present. Under Section 22, no alien may acquire a ship or a share therein, subject to forfeiture. If we were to allow aliens to own Irish ships, then the States with which we wish to establish reciprocal rights might well object.

Senator Cox may well say whether one may prosper or not under the Control of Manufactures Act by getting around it. There is no question of prospering under this: it is over and above board. Without getting around it, he can establish a company, subject to the law of the State and have its principal place of business in the State and be fully entitled to own or part own ships under the Irish flag. Alien ownership of an Irish ship would raise the question of its nationality under international law and that would be contrary to a recent resolution of the International Law Commission which deals with this subject.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary please inform us which International Law Commission?

I would like to press the amendment to the extent of asking the House to express its view, as I think it is an important point and a question of principle.

Mr. Douglas

On a point of clarification, could the Parliamentary Secretary tell us to which International Law Commission he is referring and what happens under international law in the case of ships registered in the State of Liberia or the State of Panama, where practically every ship is foreign owned?

It is the Law Commission set up under the U.N.O. I do not think we would like to follow Panama.

Mr. Douglas

Neither do I, but I would like to know how you would exclude them. In other words, I think you have a contradiction there.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 9; Níl, 28.

  • Burke, Denis.
  • Cox, Arthur.
  • Crosbie, James.
  • Douglas, John Harold.
  • Fearon, William R.
  • Guinness, Henry E.
  • O'Brien, George.
  • Sheehy Skeffington, Owen L.
  • Stanford, William B.


  • Bergin, Patrick.
  • Butler, John.
  • Carton, Victor.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Commons, Bernard.
  • Davidson, Mary F.
  • Dowdall, Jane.
  • Hawkins, Fred.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Kissane, Éamon.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lynch, John.
  • Lynch, Peter T.
  • McGuire, Edward A.
  • McHugh, Roger J.
  • Mannion, John.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Donnell, Frank H.
  • O'Gorman, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, John L.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Ruane, Seán T.
  • Ruane, Thomas.
  • Techan, Patrick J.
  • Tierney, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Louis.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Cox and Fearon; Níl: Senators J.L. O'Sullivan and S.T. Ruane.
Amendment declared lost.
Section agreed to.
Sections 17 to 24, inclusive, agreed to.

With regard to Section 20, sub-section (1) provides:—

"Subject to sub-section (2) of this section a ship which is not wholly owned by one or more qualified persons shall not be registered under this Act."

Would the Minister clarify whether the would take the view under that section that a qualified person would mean a person belonging to a reciprocating country? If not, it would seem to be a little inconsistent.

On a point of order, is it in order to deal with Senator Cox's question in regard to Section 20, now that we have reached Section 25?

I am afraid it is not. We could deal with it on Report Stage.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Cox has raised a question in relation to Section 20.

I can raise the question on Report Stage.

On a point of order, would it be possible to catch up with it on the Report Stage? Could the Senator not communicate with the Parliamentary Secretary in the meantime, so that he could bring it up on Report Stage? I am simply putting that forward as a point of view.

We shall deal with it on Report Stage.

Sections 25 to 31, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 3 stand part of the Bill."

I notice that, in the Second Schedule, which relates to Section 32, the ports of registry are given as Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick, Skibbereen, Sligo, Tralee, Waterford, Westport and Wexford. There are other minor ports in the country and I wonder if, at this stage, it would be well if some of their names were included. I have in mind Dungarvan, where at the present time there is a revival in shipping. I understand that no ship is at present owned in Dungarvan, but ships have been owned there, and, as I say, there seems to be a revival in shipping. There may be some advantages for those registering ships at the port which they generally use: I do not know. According to this Bill, one may apply for the extension of the number of ports in the register, but I do not know how difficult that procedure is. If it is difficult, I should like to suggest that the port of Dungarvan be included in the names of the ports that appear in the Second Schedule to this Bill.

As a matter of fact, I have raised this matter of the Second Schedule which appears on page 30 of the Bill. I cannot get any information as to what advantages or benefits the registration of a port confers on the port authorities or the port, or whether it gives the port authorities an extra headache. There are two ports in County Mayo into which boats of similar draught to those that enter Westport can go, that is, Newport and Ballina (River Port), and they are not included.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Since there is an amendment relating to these ports, perhaps the Senator would defer his remarks until we come to the Second Schedule?

Perhaps Senator Burke might wait until we come to the Second Schedule?

I raised it because I thought I should do so now, as well as on the Second Schedule.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 33 to 61, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 62 stand part of the Bill."

Section 62 provides that there can be no transfer which is not approved by the Minister, unless it comes under sub-section (3). That would seem to me to imply that, unless the Minister were to make regulations, one would not be able to transfer ships even to a qualified person. I should like to get an assurance from the Parliamentary Secretary that such regulations will be made and maintained, because otherwise a person could not transfer at all.

There are regulations existing already which are made under Section 10 of the 1947 Act and continued in force by virtue of another section in this Bill.

I am satisfied. I wanted to draw attention to the matter. It is not a question of the Minister having to make regulations; it is a question that the Minister may make regulations.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 63 to 66, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 67 stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Douglas

Would the Parliamentary Secretary give an explanation of sub-section (5), which reads:—

"If it is shown to the satisfaction of the Minister that the name of any ship has been changed without his permission he shall direct that her name be altered into that which she bore before the change, and the name shall be altered in the register book, in the ship's certificate of registry and on her bows and stern accordingly."

Is the certificate of registration made out by the shipowner? This is only a matter of clarification. Surely it is the Minister who issues the certificate of registry, and alteration would not be allowed.

The registrar of shipping might alter the name, without the Minister knowing it. Afterwards, he would have to put it back to the original registration.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 68 to 98, inclusive, agreed to.
First Schedule agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:—

To insert in line 24 "Ballina (River Port)" and "Newport".

When looking at this Bill, I noticed that one port in County Mayo was numbered amongst the ports of registry whereas two ports that can and have been used by boats of similar draught as those that go to Westport have not been included. As I have already stated, I do not know what benefits registration confers on a port or whether it puts responsibilities on port authorities. I have not got any information since I put this amendment down. Perhaps I might get the information from the Parliamentary Secretary now and decide then whether I will let my amendment stand, or withdraw it.

If Senator Ruane was present during the Second Reading of the Bill, when this point was raised, he would have had the information already, but since he put down this amendment I should like to support it, in principle. It seems to me that he would be doing wrong to take a local or a regional view of this Bill and it would be wrong, I think, if simply because certain ports in County Mayo were left out, we should include those and those only. As I suggested on the Second Reading, if we are going to extend these schedules, ports right round the coast seem to be qualified reasonably well. I mentioned the ports of Arklow, Dungarvan and Kinsale. I think that if the Bill is to be amended, it should not be amended simply in the interest of the County Mayo.

The only difficulty I see under the Bill in connection with this question of registry, is that there may not be customs officers in these ports. The chief officer of customs, or one of his assistants, is the person who is qualified to register. I could see a difficulty if a customs officer was not resident in a small port. The port I spoke of earlier was the port of Dungarvan, where, I believe, a customs officer is resident. Therefore, no difficulty would arise there in regard to expense or in making Dungarvan a port of registry.

In regard to Senator Burke's original question, there was no previous effort to have the port registered. It is only a matter of convenience.

A matter of status, I suppose.

Convenience, mostly. With regard to the two ports mentioned by Senator Ruane—Ballina and Newport—the port of Westport, which is a port of registry, is only six miles from Newport. The port of Ballina has not very much shipping going into it. I do not think any went in last year. I can see no reason for extending the list, but if the Senator is anxious about the matter, I can get in touch with the Minister, who could add on these ports.

Could a coaster go into these ports, without being registered?

Mr. Douglas

If the Parliamentary Secretary is considering adding to the ports, he might consider Killybegs, which is a port in which customs facilities are available, and also Buncrana. Killybegs is quite an important fishing port—Senator Walsh may know more about this port than I do—and it is a harbour of refuge. It might be included, if any additional ports are being included.

I should like to join with Senator Douglas in urging the inclusion of those two ports. Killybegs is the most important fishing port in the Twenty-Six Counties at the present time. There are customs facilities available in Killybegs. The same remarks apply to Buncrana.

Any port that wishes can apply, even when this Bill becomes an Act?

That is correct.

I suppose if all those ports wish to have their names included, we might submit the names on the Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Second Schedule agreed to.
Third Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 14th December.