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On 17 May 2012 the Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, was drawn twelfth in the Private Members Bill ballot. On 20 June Ms Murray introduced the Marine Navigation (No. 2) Bill in the House of Commons. The Bill and accompanying Explanatory Notes were published on 12 October. The Bill received Second Reading in the House of Commons on 19 October; Committee stage on 7 November, Report stage and Third Reading on 30 November and is awaiting Second Reading in the Lords. The Bill has support from both the Government and the Opposition.

The Bill recreates many of the provisions in the Labour Government’s 2008 draft Marine Navigation Bill to amend legislation relating to pilotage, harbour authorities, the general lighthouse authorities and the manning of ships, as well as extending the powers of port police. The 2008 draft Bill was considered by the Transport Select Committee, who published a report in July 2008.

This note gives some background information on those issues addressed by the 2012 Bill. Almost all of the clauses repeat (in many cases word for word) provisions in the 2008 draft Bill. For this reason, clause-specific commentary tends to be included in the sections on the draft 2008 Bill.

The most controversial aspect of the Bill is the pilotage provision in clause 2 that would allow any bona fide crew member to hold a Pilotage Exemption Certificate (PEC), as opposed to the current arrangement under which only a Master and First Mate/Chief Officer may hold such. There are concerns that this change might compromise safety and order onboard ship. Clause 2 was amended by the Government on Report to clarify the types of crew member to whom PECs could be applied; clause 5 on harbour directions was also slightly modified by the Government.

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