There are three different types of Marine Notice; Merchant Shipping Notice (MSN), Marine Guidance Note (MGN) and Marine Information Note (MIN). These Notices publicise to the shipping and fishing industries important safety, pollution prevention and other relevant information.
Merchant Shipping Notices are used to convey mandatory information that must be complied with under UK legislation. These MSNs relate to Statutory Instruments and contain the technical detail of such regulations.
Marine Guidance Notes give significant advice and guidance relating to the improvement of the safety of shipping and of life at sea, and to prevent or minimise pollution from shipping.
Marine Information Notes are intended for a more limited audience e.g. training establishments or equipment manufacturers, or contain information which will only be of use for a short period of time, such as timetables for MCA examinations. MINs are numbered in sequence and have a cancellation date (which will typically be no more than twelve months after publication).
Within each series of Marine Notices suffixes are used to indicate whether documents relate to merchant ships or fishing vessels, or to both. The suffixes following the number are:
(M) for merchant ships
(F) for fishing vessels
(M+F) for both merchant
ships and fishing vessels
e.g. Notice MSN 3456 (M+F) would apply to all UK vessels .
Thus fishing vessel operators can see immediately if a particular document will be of interest.
When a document provides guidance on the law it should not be regarded as definitive. The way the law applies to any particular case can vary according to circumstances - for example, from vessel to vessel and you should consider seeking independent legal advice if you are unsure of your own legal position.