Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (148)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

148. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the arrangements for submarines from other states entering Irish water; the notification and monitoring required; the way any potential safety threat to Irish fishing vessels is prevented; and if nuclear submarines are permitted to enter Irish waters. [4898/14]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, all vessels have a right of innocent passage through the territorial sea of another State. The Convention does not permit a State to seek prior notification of the passage of vessels through its territorial sea. However, in the case of submarines and other underwater vehicles, Article 20 of the Convention provides that while in the territorial sea they are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag. Beyond the limits of the territorial sea the vessels of all States enjoy freedom of navigation.

I wish to confirm that the concerns of the Irish Government more generally regarding nuclear safety and security issues are raised at international fora such as the International Atomic Energy Agency. Any specific concerns or incidents are raised with the authorities of the countries concerned as the need arises.