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Medway Ports Authority Act 1973

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47Protection of Crown interests in wrecks

(1)Without prejudice to section 741 of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, the powers conferred on the Authority by sections 530 and 532 of the said Act of 1894 shall not be exercisable—

(a)in relation to any vessel sunk, stranded or abandoned by design by or under the orders of a person acting on behalf of Her Majesty or an officer or servant of the Crown acting in the course of his duty as such;

(b)except with the consent of the Secretary of State for Defence, which may be given with or without such a direction as is referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this section, in relation to any vessel which is not excluded from the exercise of those powers by virtue of being a vessel belonging to Her Majesty but which, at the time when the vessel was sunk, stranded or abandoned—

(i)had been required to be placed at the disposal of Her Majesty or of a government department; and

(ii)was appropriated to the service, under the direction and control of the Secretary of State for Defence, of Her Majesty's ships of war.

(2)The Authority shall give notice in writing to the Secretary of State for Defence and to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry of any decision of the Authority to exercise in relation to any vessel referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section any of the powers aforesaid other than the power of lighting and buoying and, except in a case which is in the opinion of the Authority a case of emergency, shall not proceed with the exercise thereof—

(a)except with the consent of the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry before the expiration of a period of fourteen days from the giving of the notice; or

(b)if before the expiration of the said period there is served on the Authority a direction by the Secretary of State for Defence or the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry that those powers shall not be exercised in relation to that vessel except in such a case as aforesaid;

and where, in any such case as aforesaid, the Authority proceed to exercise those powers without the consent and before the expiration of the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection or after a direction has been served on them as aforesaid, they shall not in the exercise of those powers use any explosives and, if, before the expiration of the period aforesaid, such a direction as aforesaid is served on them, shall not be entitled to exercise the power of sale conferred by the said section 530 or the power conferred by subsection (2) of section 46 (Powers with respect to disposal of wrecks) of this Act:

Provided that—

(i)the Authority shall not be required to give notice under this subsection in respect of any vessel in respect of which they have received a consent under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section, but any direction such as is referred to in paragraph (b) of this subsection accompanying that consent shall be deemed for the purposes of this subsection and of subsection (3) of the said section 46 to have been duly served under paragraph (b) of this subsection;

(ii)the prohibition on the use of explosives imposed by this subsection shall not apply to the use for cutting away the superstructure of a vessel of such small explosive charges as may for the time being be approved by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for the purposes of this proviso.

(3)Without prejudice to the powers of sale conferred on the Authority by the said section 530, the Authority shall hold and dispose of any wreck within the meaning of Part IX of the said Act of 1894 raised, removed or recovered under that section, and any surplus proceeds of sale within the meaning of that section, in accordance with such directions (if any) as may be given to them by the receiver of wreck; and on exercising the said power of sale in the case of any property the Authority shall discharge any sums payable in respect of that property by way of duties of customs or excise and any sums so discharged shall be deemed to be expenses incurred by the Authority under that section.

(4)Any limitation on the powers of the Authority in relation to any vessel arising by virtue of subsection (1) or subsection (2) of this section shall not operate to authorise the exercise in relation to that vessel of the powers conferred on Trinity House by section 531 of the said Act of 1894.

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