Backing for UK waters smoking ban

PROPOSALS to ban smoking on all ships sailing in UK waters have been greeted with widespread support.With new restrictions on smoking in public places now in force, ministers are now looking at putting in place a similar ban on all vessels with crews and passengers sailing up to 12 miles off the coast and on inland waterways.

PROPOSALS to ban smoking on all ships sailing in UK waters have been greeted with widespread support.

With new restrictions on smoking in public places now in force, ministers are now looking at putting in place a similar ban on all vessels with crews and passengers sailing up to 12 miles off the coast and on inland waterways.

It would not just apply to UK registered ships but to ships of any flags, and those visiting Felixstowe and other UK ports come from all over the world

Following a consultation exercise on the idea, the government is now set to follow it up with a set of draft regulations for further comment this autumn and hopes to bring in a new law next year.


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“We received a very positive reaction to our plans to introduce restrictions to sea going and inland waterways vessels,” said a Department of Transport spokesman.

“Very few respondents took issue with the proposals and most clearly recognised the health benefits associated with reduced exposure to second hand smoke and were keen to see clear unambiguous regulations introduced.”

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The consultation asked for comments on how the rules should be enforced and what penalties should apply.

Lawyers have assured government it will be within its rights to enforce smoking bans on ships of other nations sailing in UK waters.

The consultation received 45 responses from interested organisations in the maritime industry - with 40 supporting the proposals.

It was felt by some that while smoking in work and communal areas, including sleeping quarters, should be banned, there would still need to be areas on board where people could smoke away from fellow seafarers - especially as people stay on ships for months.

However, it was felt some vessels were unsuitable for smoking on deck and in some cases smoking on deck is fully restricted.

One idea to be investigated is the possibility of designating some cabins for smokers.

“There was agreement amongst most consultees that the benefits would not only include the improved health of workers but would also lead to a more pleasant working environment,” said the Dft spokesman.

“Most felt that this would be difficult to quantify in money but in any case would outweigh any potential costs identified.

“The costs were considered to be minimal unless modifications were needed to the structure of a vessel to provide adequate ventilation for areas where smoking is permitted.”

Shipping union Nautilus UK felt workers should be protected from second hand smoke wherever they are in the world and that other Health and Safety legislation does not stop applying once a vessel has left UK territorial waters.

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