A new comprehensive security regime for international shipping entered into force on 1 July 2004 following the adoption at a Diplomatic Conference of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) of a series of measures to strengthen maritime security and prevent and suppress acts of terrorism against shipping.

The new security regime applies to passenger ships and cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards, including high-speed craft, mobile off-shore units and port facilities serving such ships engaged on international voyages.


Marine Safety encompasses merchant ships, passenger vessels, fishing vessels and leisure craft sectors.  The key objectives of Marine Safety are:


The Marine Environment Division is part of the Marine Survey Office (MSO) (including the Marine Radio Affairs Unit (MRAU)) and Maritime Safety Division and the Aids to Navigation Section
Overall Goal:
To preserve and protect the quality of the marine environment
Key Objectives:
  • To preserve and protect the quality of the marine environment through prevention of marine pollution from vessels and efficient and effective response to marine pollution incidents.

Maritime Safety Directorate

The Maritime Safety Directorate comprises of two main sections: the Maritime Safety Policy Division (MSPD) and the Marine Survey Office (MSO), which includes the Marine Radio Affairs Unit (MRAU).  The Mercantile Marine Office (MMO) also works to the Directorate.


The Maritime Safety Policy Division is responsible for maritime safety policy, security policy and legislation (including leisure safety), aids to navigation and corporate governance of the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

Maritime Transport

Maritime Transport Division is responsible for policy development and implementation in relation to ports and shipping. 

Ports Policy

A new National Ports Policy was published in March 2013.  The core objective of National Ports Policy is to facilitate a competitive and effective market for maritime transport services.


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