Skip to main content

Port Health

Foyle Port is the key marine gateway to the North West of Ireland for both commerce and tourism. The port operates on a 100 acres site and handles approximately two million tonnes of cargo per annum.  The port supports in the region of 1000 jobs, making a vital contribution to the North West regional economy.

There are approximately 600 vessels arriving at the port every year.  Vessels are predominantly deep sea ships, holding up to 25 crew; or coastal vessels, with up to ten crew.  In addition, Cruise Ships arrive into one of the three cruise berths in the port.  There is a maximum of 15 booked annually, which are booked 2 years in advance.  Such ships arrive from the USA, European Union or the UK and have the capacity for 800-1500 passengers depending on the ship.

Foyle Port handles an extensive range of dry and break bulk cargoes including coal, animal feed, oil, fertiliser, plywood, woodchip, logs, cement, minerals, recycled metal, wind turbines and concrete products.

Vessels come to the port from all over the world: South America, Columbia or Brazil, South Africa; North America, Mississippi; Russia; European Union, Poland, Holland, France, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Denmark; and the UK.  

Foyle Port offers an in-house stevedoring service as part of its overall cargo handling service; including a modern fleet of forklift trucks, skid steer loaders, wheel loaders and excavators for all stevedoring and cargo handling needs.  

The Port also offers available quay side storage and warehousing facilities; including bulk transport from the ships hold to shed. The Port estate contains 425,000 sq. ft. of warehousing and a number of open storage sites near the quay.  The warehouses include a number of TASCC (Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops) approved state-of-the-art bulk sheds and chemical stores.


Derry City and Strabane District Council do not operate Foyle Port, however we are responsible for making sure the port meets environmental health standards. 

Our duties include: 

  • Carrying out inspections on board ships and other vessels to check that they comply with food safety and hygiene standards
  • Periodic inspection of ships and other vessels for valid ship sanitation certificates
  • Issuing ship sanitation and exemption certificates
  • Checking the quality of water provided to and stored on ships
  • Pest complaints
  • Monitoring the port for infectious diseases
  • Investigating statutory nuisance complaints e.g. noise, dust, odour, effluvia.

The Environmental Health Service provides primarily a reactive service at Foyle Port in terms of ship inspection, infectious disease control and nuisance investigation.

Ships are inspected when issues or concerns have been highlighted at a previous port.  In such instances a follow up inspection is carried out and if necessary a Ship Sanitation Control Certificate is issued. 


The Public Health (Ships) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 provide for notification by the ship’s Master of Health conditions on board; inspection of incoming ships by Port Health Authorities; issuing of ship sanitation certificates; examination of people; and authorizes measures to be taken for preventing danger to public health.  The application of additional measures appropriate to specified diseases particularly dangerous to public health are subject to the International Health Regulations 2005.

In general terms the regulations require that where a member of the crew of a ship becomes aware or suspects that a person on board is suffering from an infectious disease, he or she must notify the Captain.  The Captain is then required to pass this information to the authorised officer responsible for port health functions at the first point of landing in the UK.  In Northern Ireland this is the Public Health Agency.  Council is directly responsible for investigating any reported cases of infectious disease and liaise closely with the Public Health Agency.  The goal is to stop infectious diseases reaching the community.


Under the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005, all ships and other vessels engaged in an international voyage between countries must hold a valid ship sanitation certificate. 

Ship sanitation certificates are designed to prevent international vessels from causing a public health risk and cover all areas of ship borne public health risks including vector control, potable and ballast water and food safety controls.  These certificates are issued under the Public Health (Ships) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008, following an inspection of the ship and are valid for six months.  If public health risks are found on board ship a Ship Sanitation Control Certificate is issued requiring that the problems are remedied within a certain timescale.


There is a charge for carrying out an inspection and issuing a ship sanitation certificate.  These charges are issued nationally by the Association of Port Health Authorities (APHA). 

They are applied as follows: 

Size of Ship

Cost of inspection and certificate issue until 1st April 2023

Ships with up to 1,000 gross tonnage


Ships from 1,001 to 3,000 gross tonnage


Ships from 3,001 to 10,000 gross tonnage


Ships from 10,001 to 20,000 gross tonnage


Ships from 20,001 to 30,000 gross tonnage


Ships with more than 30,000 gross tonnage



There are some exceptions to these charges:

  • vessels with a capacity of between 50 and 1,000 persons - £480
  • vessels with a capacity of more than 1,000 persons - £820

Extra charges, based on actual costs, may be added for exceptional costs such as launch hire, out-of-hours duty, travel and extended or re-inspections of ships due to "control measures" etc.

Extensions to a ship sanitation certificate will be charged at £95


For further information contact Port Health Team:

T: 028 71253253

E: [email protected]

Want to know more about what is happening in the council area?

Enter your email address and get them direct to your inbox