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New passenger ship regulations could help save valuable time in search and rescue responses

An industry consultation is being carried out on new regulations which could potentially save vital time and lives in search and rescue incidents.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency will be talking to companies that run domestic passenger ships about the new rules which would mean passenger details being reported by electronic means within 15 to 30 minutes.

From 20 December 2023, passenger details will have to be reported by electronic, digital means to the UK National Single Window (NSW). In the case of an incident, the information can then be accessed by the relevant search and rescue authority, again by digital means.

This would require industry to update their method of passenger reporting by using their Automatic Identification System (where applicable) and the UK NSW, meaning a reduction in risk to passengers and crew on board.

These proposed amendments will ensure that HM Coastguard have rapid access to accurate passenger information on board passenger vessels in the event of an emergency and potentially reduce the risk to life on board.

Gwilym Stone, Assistant Director, ship standards with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “We continually review how best we can keep people safe when they travel on passenger ships, including the crew. This piece of legislation will provide a centralised portal for transmission of passenger and crew information to relevant search and rescue authorities in the event of an incident at sea.

“Digitalisation will provide more efficient systems with immediate access which in turn will result in more accurate information which is vital in a search and rescue situation for both HM Coastguard and other search and rescue authorities.

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