29th June 2020, 13:09
A bill has been published for an amendment to the Public Health Act to control the emission of smoke by vessels in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.
The move has been welcomed by the Environmental Safety Group, which says it believes the community will be greatly relieved to see official steps being taken on this issue.
The bill to amend the Public Health Act includes a schedule with details of maximum emissions for specific maritime operations, but has an overall limit: it states that in no case can vessels emit black smoke for a total of two minutes or more out of thirty, and that continuous emissions of dark smoke should not exceed three minutes. Contravening this would mean that the owner and master of the vessel, and the owner’s agent, will each have committed an offence and could be fined up to five thousand pounds.
However, they can defend themselves if the emissions come from equipment failure that could not have been prevented, or as the result of a threat to the safety of the vessel. The rules would not apply to Royal Navy ships, or Government ships assisting them.
The Environmental Safety Group says it strongly welcomes the new bill, but hopes additional legislation will sson follow to address the exemptions for MoD and Government vessels. It also calls on the Government to provide advice to the public on how the new law will be policed and enforced, and how the community can best assist by reporting offenders.