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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

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.

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