No smoking on ships

SMOKING may be banned on all ships sailing in UK waters.With new restrictions set to come into force on smoking in public places this summer, 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.

SMOKING may be banned on all ships sailing in UK waters.

With new restrictions set to come into force on smoking in public places this summer, 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.

Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander is carrying out consultation in the shipping industry - and people have until May 11 to make their views known.

“The Government announced last year that restrictions on smoking in enclosed workplaces, public places and vehicles would be introduced in England from July. This will save thousands of lives over the next decade by reducing both exposure to hazardous second-hand smoke and overall smoking rates,” said Mr Alexander.

“We now intend to introduce similar provisions to provide protection from second-hand smoke for people on vessels operating in UK waters, both at sea and on inland waterways.”

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The ban would not apply to private leisure vessels and their crews that do not carry fare-paying passengers.

The consultation asks for comments on how the rules should be enforced, and whether people feel the Maritime Coastguard Agency should be the enforcement authority, 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.

A spokesman for shipping union Nautilus UK said: “Obviously one proviso should be that there does need to be somewhere where smokers can continue to pollute themselves but not their colleagues.

“Ships are not just workplaces. For many they are a place to live for months on end.”

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