Legislative Council

LC Paper No. LS 139/98-99

Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Legislative Council
on 16 April 1999

Legal Service Division Report on
Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution)
(Amendment) Bill 1999

Object of the Bill

The main purpose of this Bill is to transfer the regulation-making power (except the power to make regulations for fees) under the Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Prevention) Ordinance (Cap. 413) from the Chief Executive in Council to the Secretary for Economic Services.

LegCo Brief Reference

2. LegCo Brief (File Ref.: ECON 27/5061/89(96)V) issued by the Economic Services Bureau dated 16 March 1999.

Date of First Reading

3. 31 March 1999.


4. The Ordinance is to provide for the prevention and control of pollution from ships. The Ordinance and its subsidiary regulations were enacted to give effect to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships ("the Convention"). The regulations are technical in nature and are subject to frequent amendments. Since the Secretary for Economic Services is responsible for making regulations under other similar maritime Ordinances, such as the Merchant Shipping (Safety) Ordinance (Cap. 369), it is proposed that he be made the authority for making regulations under this Ordinance. Only the power to make regulation for fees is reserved to the Chief Executive in Council (Clauses 3 and 8).

5. Other amendments introduced include:

  1. The Secretary for Economic Services is empowered to make regulations in respect of boarding of any ships within Hong Kong waters to carry out inspections (Clause 3).

  2. The definition of "oil" in section 2 of the Ordinance is amended to make it in line with the definition set out in the Convention (Clause 2).

  3. The Director of Marine is empowered to give directions in case of shipping casualties involving a risk of pollution (Clauses 5, 6 and 7).

Public Consultation

6. There has not been any public consultation on the Bill.

Consultation with the LegCo Panel

7. No consultation with any LegCo Panel on the details of the Bill has been carried out.


8. The amendments mainly deal with the the transfer of regulation-making power within the Executive Branch, i.e. from the Chief Executive in Council to the Secretary for Economic Services. Any regulation made, whether by the Chief Executive in Council or by the Secretary, will be subject to the negative vetting of the Legislative Council under section 34 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap. 1). The legal and drafting aspects of the Bill are in order. Subject to Members' views, a Bills Committee may not be required and Second Reading debate may be resumed.

Prepared by

HO Ying-chu, Anita
Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
12 April 1999