Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
21. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to dissolve the marine casualty investigation board; the timeline for doing so; and the reasoning behind this decision. [46085/22]
In relation to future structures for marine accident investigation, Cabinet approval has been given to the preparation of draft heads of a General Scheme to provide for a new marine accident investigation unit based on the establishment of a full-time investigative resource. Work on the General Scheme is at an advanced stage in my Department. Subject to Government approval, the General Scheme will be considered by the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications for pre-legislative scrutiny as part of the legislative process.
The progress of the proposed legislation will determine the timeline regarding dissolving the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) who are continuing their valuable work in the area in the interim. As outlined in the EU Directive regarding the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector, Member States must ensure that safety investigations are conducted under the responsibility of an impartial, permanent investigative body. The new marine accident investigation unit will replace the MCIB as the designated impartial, permanent marine accident investigative body in due course. The legislative proposals will contain suitable provisions to enable a smooth transition between the two bodies.
22. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason that the proposed new marine accident investigation unit will operate within his Department; the proposed involvement of his Department in the marine accident investigation unit; and the way in which the requirements under European Union law for an independent marine accident investigator will be met. [46086/22]
Cabinet approval has been given to the preparation of draft heads of a General Scheme to provide for a new marine accident investigation structure based on the establishment of a full-time unit. Work on the General Scheme is at an advanced stage in my Department.
The proposals for the new Marine Accident Investigation Unit (MAIU) are being developed based along the lines of the existing Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) and Railway Accident Investigation Unit (RAIU) in my Department. Both the AAIU and RAIU are independent bodies established within the Department. As outlined in the EU Directive regarding the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector, the investigative body must be independent in its organisation, legal structure and decision-making of any party whose interests could conflict with the task entrusted to it. Following preliminary advice from the Office of the Attorney General, the General Scheme will include a number of provisions establishing that the MAIU will meet these requirements. Further provisions may be incorporated to ensure this is the case as the legislation is developed.
My Department is also engaging with the EU Commission outlining our approach in establishing the new marine accident investigation unit within the Department and will take their views on board as the proposals evolve.