Section 185B Customs Act 1901 | Moving or Destroying Hazardous Ships etc.


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The Legislation

Section 185B of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth) deals with Moving or Destroying Hazardous Ships etc. and is extracted below.

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185B Moving or destroying hazardous ships etc.

Application of section to ships in Australia
(1) This section applies to a ship that is in Australia and that an officer reasonably suspects is or has been involved in a contravention or an attempted contravention, either in or outside Australia, of this Act, section 72.13 or Division 307 of the Criminal Code or a prescribed Act.

Application of section to ships outside Australia
(2) This section also applies to a ship that is outside Australia if:

(a) an officer has detained it under subsection 185(3); and
(b) in the case of an Australian ship—the officer reasonably suspects it is or has been involved in a contravention or an attempted contravention, either in or outside Australia, of this Act, section 72.13 or Division 307 of the Criminal Code or a prescribed Act; and
(c) in the case of a foreign ship—the officer reasonably suspects it is or has been involved in a contravention:

(i) in Australia of this Act, section 72.13 or Division 307 of the Criminal Code or a prescribed Act; or
(ii) in Australia’s exclusive economic zone of a prescribed Act.

When ship may be destroyed or moved
(3) The CEO may direct an officer to move, destroy, or move and destroy the ship, or cause such thing to be done, if the CEO has reasonable grounds to believe any of the following:

(a) that the ship is unseaworthy;
(b) that the ship poses a serious risk to navigation, quarantine, safety or public health;
(c) that the ship poses a serious risk of damage to property or the environment.

(4) The CEO may direct an officer to destroy, or move and destroy, the ship, or cause such thing to be done, if the CEO has reasonable grounds to believe that the ship is in such poor condition that its custody or maintenance by the Commonwealth would involve an expense that would be likely to be greater than its value.

Giving of notice after the ship has been destroyed
(5) As soon as practicable, but not later than 7 days after the ship has been destroyed, the CEO must give a written notice to:

(a) the owner of the ship; or
(b) if the owner cannot be identified after reasonable inquiry—the person in whose possession or under whose control the ship was when it was detained or located.

(6) The notice must state:

(a) that the ship has been destroyed under subsection (3) or (4); and
(b) the reason for the destruction; and
(c) that compensation may be payable under section 4AB.

Note: A person may be paid compensation under section 4AB if the destruction of the ship results in an acquisition of property (within the meaning of paragraph 51(xxxi) of the Constitution).

Failure to give notice not to affect validity
(7) A failure to give a notice under this section does not affect the validity of the ship’s destruction.

Section to override certain other provisions
(8) This section applies despite Subdivisions D, G and GA (other than sections 205G and 209I) of Division 1 of Part XII.

(9) In this section, officer includes a member of the Australian Defence Force.