Search Legislation

Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Detention of vessels in connection with court proceedings
Section 279: Power to detain vessels in connection with court proceedings

702.This section allows an enforcement officer to detain a vessel to ensure the attendance of the alleged offenders in court and the payment of any fine on conviction. The enforcement officer has the power to direct the vessel to port and a power to hold the vessel in port or require the person in charge of the vessel to do so.

703.The section provides that the power to detain may be used where an enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence has been committed by the owner, master or charterer of a fishing vessel. Furthermore, in order to detain a vessel, the enforcement officer must either believe that court proceedings will be commenced in respect of the offence committed and there is a real risk that the alleged offenders will not attend court unless the vessel is detained, or the enforcement officer must suspect that following a conviction and imposition by the court of a fine, the court is likely to use its detention powers until all fines have been paid.

704.This section gives an enforcement officer powers to take the vessel and its crew to the nearest convenient port and detain the vessel there. A convenient port may not be the nearest in terms of distance, but it may be, for example, the nearest one able to take the size of the vessel, provide a berth or suitable storage.

705.An enforcement officer is required to issue a written notice to the person in charge of the vessel stating why the vessel has been detained and the circumstances in which it would be released.

Section 280: Release of vessels detained under section 279

706.This section makes provision for the release of a vessel which is being detained under section 279. The vessel ceases to be detained if: the notice for detention is withdrawn; the vessel is released by order of the court; proceedings associated with the vessel’s detention have concluded; or the court exercises its power to detain the vessel.

707.An enforcement officer may withdraw a notice of detention at any time and such a notice must be withdrawn if any of the grounds for release are met: either that the relevant authority has decided to take no proceedings in respect of the vessel or if there is no longer reason to believe either that the person in question would fail to attend court or that a court would order detention of the vessel.

Section 281: Power of court to order release of vessels

708.This section applies in circumstances where a vessel has been detained under section 279. It provides a power for the court to order the release of the vessel. An order may be made by the court if it is satisfied that the continued detention of the vessel under section 279 is no longer necessary. This might be either because the continued detention of the vessel is not necessary to secure any person’s attendance at court or because following conviction the court would not order the vessel to be detained.

Section 282: Bonds for release of vessels

709.This section gives the relevant authority power to enter into an agreement with the owner or charterer of the vessel (or any of the owners or charterers of the vessel) to release a vessel detained under section 279 when a monetary security has been paid. The amount of the security will be settled by the two parties to the agreement. The relevant authority may impose conditions on the person who provides security.

710.The security must be returned if any of the grounds for release set out in subsection (5) are met.

711.Where the court imposes a fine, it may order that any money paid as security should be used towards the payment of the fine. If the fine imposed is less than the security that was paid, any surplus money must be returned to the person who provided the security.

Section 283: Power of court to order repayment of bonds

712.Where a bond has been paid pursuant to section 282 (and the notice of detention withdrawn) the court may order repayment of the bond to the person who provided the security if it is satisfied that the continuation of the bond is not necessary to ensure the attendance in court of the master, owner or charterer, or that, had the bond not been given, the court would not have ordered the detention of the vessel.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources

Impact Assessments

Impact Assessments generally accompany all UK Government interventions of a regulatory nature that affect the private sector, civil society organisations and public services. They apply regardless of whether the regulation originates from a domestic or international source and can accompany primary (Acts etc) and secondary legislation (SIs). An Impact Assessment allows those with an interest in the policy area to understand:

  • Why the government is proposing to intervene;
  • The main options the government is considering, and which one is preferred;
  • How and to what extent new policies may impact on them; and,
  • The estimated costs and benefits of proposed measures.