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The European Union (Registration of Persons Sailing on board Passenger Ships) Regulations 2019 (SI No 677 of 2019), transposing Council Directive 98/41/EC as amended by Directive 2002/84/EC, entered into force on 19 December 2019.

It requires the reporting of persons on board passenger ships via SafeSeasIreland or via a vessel’s Automatic Information System (AIS).

A transitional period up to 19 December 2023 was provided for in the directive and regulations which allowed the reporting of persons on board to continue via the operating company’s passenger registrar located ashore.

The requirements affect all seagoing passenger ships on international voyages and a number of domestic passenger ships.

As the transitional period will end shortly, the requirements for reporting of persons on board passenger ships from 20 December 2023 onward are set out in Marine Notice No 76 of 2023, attached below.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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Legislation is to be brought forward by the British Government this week, RTÉ News understands which could see work resume in Northern Ireland ports with the construction of border control posts.

The delay to works in the ports follows months of controversy relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Following implementaton of the leglisation, this will allow Officials in Whitehall to expedite completion of infrastructure for the purpose of agrifood checks carried out at ports. The transfer of port infrastructure to Whitehall comes despite the issue been a devolved matter in which the Northern Ireland civil service would otherwise handle.

RTÉ News also understands that Officials from the British Government have informed the European Commission that such legislation reflected the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland executive.

Under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the so-called border control posts or points of entry, were supposed to be constructed at ports and also operated by officials from the Northern Ireland's (DAERA) Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

DAERA which is part of the Northern Ireland Executive, were to be held responsible for carrying out EU animal health checks in addition to those concerning food safety on agrifood products entering ports in Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

Further coverage from RTE News here.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The board of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) says it welcomes the publication of the General Scheme of Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Accidents) Bill 2022 and the Government’s decision to establish a new independent Marine Accident Investigation Unit (MAIU) within the Department of Transport.

“The board believes that the new proposed structure and the potential for greater synergy with other investigation units within the department’s remit will enhance future investigations of marine casualties and thereby contribute to greater marine safety,” it said in a statement on Tuesday (13 December).

Restrictions on the membership of the board which arose following a European Court of Justice decision in 2020 were resolved by the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Accidents) Act 2022, the board adds.

In February this year, the board completed a recruitment drive for additional investigators to the investigator panel “which comprises independent persons with a high level of technical expertise”.

In September, this was followed by a recruitment process for a full-time expert marine consultant for the MCIB, which is ongoing.

The board says this is in line with recommendations in the review of the organisational structures underpinning marine accident investigations commissioned by the Department of Transport.

It adds that it has “assured the minister and the department of its full support and cooperation to ensure continuity for ongoing and new investigations and to enable a smooth transition of the function of investigating marine casualties from the board to the new unit which will be established by the current bill.”

This story was updated on Wednesday 14 December with a link to the bill.

Published in MCIB
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Draft legislation to designate almost a third of Ireland’s waters as marine protected areas (MPAs) is “almost completed”, the Heritage Minister has said.

Minister Malcolm Noonan told the Irish Examiner last week that his department would meet “shortly” with Fair Seas, a coalition of Ireland’s leading environmental NGOs and networks which recommends that MPAs here must increase from the current 2.1% of coastal and offshore areas to 36%.

The minister added that first drafts of the bill to legislate for further protections for marine wildlife and biodiversity “will set an ambition for Ireland to reach 30% MPAs”.

“We know that through our public consultation that there has been overwhelming support for this initiative,” Minister Noonan said. “We’re also saying MPAs don’t exist in isolation — they can exist with fishing communities and with other marine interests.”

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Upon the commencement of the Sea-Fisheries (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022 on Tuesday 3 May, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine will establish and maintain a register of masters, ie the Irish Fishing Master Register (IFMR).

This is to bring Irish legislation in line with EU Council Regulation 1224/2009, which established a community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and establishing a level playing field across the EU on fisheries control.

Under the act, it will be an offence for anyone to lawfully take charge of a sea fishing boat unless registered on the IFMR. This applies whether you are the owner of the sea fishing boat or not.

Once this act has been commenced, it will also be an offence for a registered sea fishing boat licence holder to knowingly employ someone as a master who is not registered as such on the IFMR.

The act defines a ‘master’ as the master, skipper or other person for the time being in charge of the boat.

All masters must be registered on the IFMR upon the commencement of the act on 3 May 2022. The application form and further details for mariners are available on HERE.

Published in Fishing

A new bill with amendments to the law that established the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) will support its independence, the Transport Minister has said.

Minister Eamon Ryan last week introduced to the Seanad the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) (Amendment) Bill 2021, following its publication last November.

“This bill is a necessary intermediary step to amend the existing legislative framework for the MCIB in order to ensure and support the continued functioning of the investigative body in the immediate term,” he said.

As previously reported on, changes in the bill will facilitate the appointment of new members to the MCIB and are aimed at supporting its independent functioning as the State’s marine casualty investigative body.

The move follows a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment in July 2020 concerning the independence of the MCIB, which saw the resignation of two board members whose positions within the Department of Transport risked conflict of interest.

“This bill is a first step in a reform process,” Minister Ryan reiterated to senators. “I propose further legislative change in the area of marine casualty investigation arising from the completion of a separate review of the legislative and structural framework that applies in Ireland.”

He said the finding of this report “have been given consideration” and a policy proposal will be brought to Cabinet “in the coming weeks”.

Minister Ryan’s statement to the Seanad, which outlines the bill and its provisions in full, can be found on KildareStreet.

The bill was expected at Committee Stage earlier today, Tuesday 15 March.

Published in MCIB
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A new bill proposes establishing a dedicated statutory authority for the conservation of Dublin Bay, as the Dublin People reports.

The bill has been introduced to the Dáil by Dublin Bay South TD Ivana Bacik, who said: “We need to act now to ensure that the environmental protection of Dublin Bay is a priority, not an afterthought.”

It’s intended that the Dublin Bay Authority would draw its membership “from elected members of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly and others with a special expertise or interest in the future protection of Dublin Bay”.

It will also “have a mandate to improve access and facilities around Dublin Bay”, with the Labour TD noting the “crumbling dereliction of the old Sandymount and Blackrock baths”.

“These are the type of public uses that we need to see back at Dublin Bay,” Bacik said. “They are projects, not just for one local authority, but for the whole of Dublin.”

The Dublin People has more on the story HERE.

Published in Dublin Bay

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has today (Thursday 11 November) announced the publication of the Merchant Shipping (Investigation of Marine Casualties) (Amendment) Bill 2021, which provides for a number of amendments to the legislation that underpins the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB).

Changes will facilitate the appointment of new members to the board and are aimed at supporting its independent functioning as the State’s marine casualty investigative body.

The move follows a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment in July 2020 concerning the independence of the MCIB, as previously reported on

“The bill is being progressed to ensure the continued independent functioning of the MCIB in the immediate term as the marine investigative body in the State and to meet international and EU requirements to have an independent marine casualty investigative body in place,” Minister Ryan said.

Separate to the bill, the Department of Transport said it is reviewing organisational structures for marine casualty investigation in Ireland which may lead to further legislative change.

However, as the minister noted: “There is an immediate need for the current bill to fill board vacancies and in particular to ensure that the quorum requirements for board meetings are met.”

The text of the bill is available on the Oireachtas website and a Regulatory Impact Analysis on the bill is available from

Published in MCIB
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Dun Laoghaire-based Senator Victor Boyhan has welcomed the Government’s decision to publish the full text of the Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021 and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum today.

As previously reported today (Monday 16 August), the Bill seeks to put in place a comprehensive and coherent planning system for the entire maritime area.

Senator Boyhan, a former director of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, notes that the Bill provide for planning permissions to be administered by An Bord Pleanála and the Coastal Local Authorities.

“I will be seeking clarity and assurances on fees to make valid planning observations and submission to the planning process and the right to third-party appeals at a reasonable cost,” he said.

“No one should be locked out of the opportunity to appeal a planning decision — citizen engagement is an important part of any planning process and one I would greatly encourage.”

Published in Marine Planning

The Maritime Area Planning Bill 2021 and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum have been published today by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The publication was approved at Cabinet on 29th June 2021 and confirmed by An Taoiseach Michéal Martin TD on 1st July 2021, alongside Ministers Darragh O’Brien TD, Eamon Ryan TD and Peter Burke TD when they launched previously at the Commissioners for Irish Lights Headquarters in Dún Laoghaire Harbour.

This legislation intends to put in place a comprehensive and coherent planning system for the entire Maritime Area. The constituent elements of this system are:

• A forward planning regime for the maritime area;

• A new streamlined development management system for the maritime area incorporating consenting for the occupation of the maritime area (Maritime Area Consents and licencing) and a new planning consenting regime (to be implemented by coastal local authorities and An Bord Pleanála);

• The establishment of a new agency, the Maritime Area Regulatory Authority (MARA) to manage the occupation of the maritime area and to enforce the provisions of the new regime.

Commenting on the Maritime Area Planning Bill, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said: “My Department is leading an extensive marine management reform programme, the likes of which the State has never seen. The Maritime Area Planning Bill, which Cabinet has approved, is further evidence of this Government’s intent to modernise the State’s approach to marine management. It will represent a giant leap forward towards meeting our ambitious climate action goals and targets.”

Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, said: “Ireland’s ocean area is home to an amazing array of marine life. Our offshore wind resources represent a real opportunity for us to break free from fossil fuels and reach our ambitious climate goals. My department has been closely involved in the development of this legislation, which will create a streamlined planning and consent regime. We are determined that as we develop our resources, we do so in a way that protects and restores our marine environment and its biodiversity.”

Published in Coastal Notes
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