The Harbour Master has prepared a second draft Small Commercial Vessel Code for the Bailiwick of Guernsey, following a first round of consultation. The proposed Code was first published for Consultation in December 2016. The purpose of the consultation was to gather the views from the professional mariners and operators of small commercial vessels operating within the Bailiwick of Guernsey. A strong response was received from 45 of the consultees regarding a number of different points from within the Code. All topics raised in the consultation and feedback on what action Guernsey Harbours has taken in response to the feedback are being issued to all consultees. In almost all cases, the Code has been amended to reflect the feedback received.
Guernsey Harbour Master, Captain Chad Murray said "The consultation process has been valuable in understanding the needs of local licence holders and vessel operators. It has been a challenge to try to consider the unique situation we find ourselves in with regard to Bailiwick waters and to find a code which will cover operations in our waters. I would like to thank everyone who responded to the first round of consultation and hope they will see that wherever possible, we have incorporated their feedback."
Sark and Alderney are also being consulted and no decision has been taken as to whether the proposed code will be adopted Bailiwick wide, however this is the proposal of the Guernsey Harbour Master. The States of Jersey have also been consulted and are considering adopting the code which would allow for the potential of a Channel Island wide code for all small commercial vessels.
The purpose of the Code is to consolidate the requirements for the operation of Small Commercial Vessels and their crews, whilst operating in and around the Bailiwick of Guernsey. It incorporates the latest construction standards adopted by the UK whilst recognising the unique situation Small Commercial Vessels and their crews encounter by extending operating limits and parameters to incorporate all potential operations within the Bailiwick. Existing legislation and procedures are outdated and cumbersome and therefore the new code shall address these issues by providing a 'one-stop' reference to commercial operators. The Code will harmonise the requirements for commercial vessels and provide a more efficient and effective licensing regime for the crews of these vessels. The Code will prescribe standards of construction, manning and emergency equipment for small commercial vessels operating from a harbour within the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The Code will be given legal effect by regulation, which creates criminal offences in respect of breaches of, and non-compliance with, the Code.
The requirements for manning and crewing will be phased in over a period of 2 years from implementation for existing license holders. This will reduce the initial burden of ensuring compliance and provide suitable opportunity to undertake the relevant training, whilst still being able to operate.
The full code can be read here. The consultation is due to close on 1st September 2017. Following this consultation, the feedback will be considered and, where appropriate, incorporated into the code. New legislation will then be drafted to give legal powers to the code.
The new code and legislation will be implemented in January 2018.