Written Answers. - Marine Safety Standards.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

43 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he is satisfied that internationally acceptable marine safety standards are being adhered to by all passenger and cargo vessels operating from or through Irish ports; if international laws of the sea are being complied with in all cases; if there have been any exceptions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17442/01]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

57 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which he has inquired into the strict adherence to international safety standards by passenger or cargo vessels operating to or out of Irish ports; the procedure followed by his Department to detect breaches in law or the sea safety standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17610/01]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

58 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the extent to which his Department has detected breaches in international maritime safety standards by cargo vessels operating to or from Irish ports; if breaches have been detected regarding such vessels while in other jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17611/01]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

59 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to breaches in international maritime safety standards by vessels operating to or from Irish ports; if any other breaches of laws of the sea have been identified; if any similar breaches have been identified regarding such vessels while in other jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17612/01]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 57 to 59, inclusive, together.

Under Irish and international law all vessels trading into and out of Irish ports are required to carry the appropriate certification to demonstrate compliance with the requisite international conventions applicable to ships of their size and type. All vessels are subject to surveys and inspections by their flag states and, under the European Union's port state control system, all vessels using Community ports are liable to inspections every six months by any of the EU states they are visit ing. The application of port state control ensures that at any given time a large number of ships operating within the Community area have undergone an inspection by an EU port state in the previous six months.
All Irish registered passenger and cargo vessels are inspected annually by my Department's surveyors and, in accordance with the port state control system, are liable to inspections every six months at the ports of other EU member states.
Serious breaches of international convention requirements may result in the detention of a vessel. Two Irish flag vessels were detained by port states in the past year and others have had to rectify minor breaches within specified time frames.
In relation to non-Irish registered vessels, last year my Department's surveyors inspected 194 such vessels which had not been inspected in the previous six months under port state control. Of these, 21 vessels were detained for non-compliance with the requisite international marine safety conventions.
The monitoring of ships in EU waters by regular inspections under port state control, is proving to be an effective measure in encouraging full compliance with international safety standards and that the vast majority of vessels operating into and out of Irish ports are complying with international convention requirements.