Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Ceisteanna (240, 241)

Seamus Kirk

Ceist:

240. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his Department's strategy on saving lives in man overboard situations; if his Department will consider making it compulsory to wear personal alert systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32421/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seamus Kirk

Ceist:

241. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if in view of the recent tragedies in the fishing industries, he is considering making it compulsory for an alert system to be worn if a fisherman goes overboard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32422/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 240 and 241 together.

Ireland's maritime safety agenda is constantly being developed in line with developments across the maritime sector, including internationally recognised safety conventions, safety standards, codes of practice, and the promotion of a culture of safety among those who go to sea for leisure or to earn their living.

I am at present considering the need for a new national maritime safety strategy and how such a strategy could be progressed in an integrated way for the sector. I expect to complete this consideration shortly. The focus of this strategy will be on the development of a culture of safety amongst seafarers and the crucial role of regulation and enforcement.

All fishing vessels, regardless of size, are required to carry a satellite emergency position-indicating radio beacon, EPIRB, appropriate to their size and the sea area in which they operate. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board has recommended that all fishing vessels carry automatically activated float free EPIRBs and the issue of personal locator beacons, PLBs, has been recommended for examination.

My Department has been working closely with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Bord Iascaigh Mhara on the legislative and financial supports for a series of maritime safety measures focused on the fishing community, including the mandatory use of automatically activated float free EPIRBs and PLBs. Later this month I, along with my colleague Minister Coveney, will launch a joint initiative targeting increased safety in the fishing industry, concentrating on an integrated package of measures including mandatory training and grant aid for mandatory safety equipment. PLBs, used in conjunction with a Lifejacket, should enhance search and rescue efforts, including Man Over Board incidents. These measures are designed to enhance safety for fishermen and in parallel to promote a culture of safety within the industry.