The Portuguese Maritime Police comprises about 500 officers who perform harbour patrols. As a naval service, it is responsible to the Ministry of Defence.
The Maritime Police is an organ that guarantees and supervises compliance with the laws and regulations in the spaces that are part of the Public Maritime Domain, port areas, bathing spaces, inland waters under the jurisdiction of the AMN and other maritime spaces.
It is up to the PM, as a specialized police force that performs functions in the AMN’s jurisdictional spaces, to carry out policing, inspection, surveillance and investigation actions, as well as to apply police measures.
The following are extracted from the role, namely:
– Visiting ships and vessels in accordance with the law;
– Carry out the acts that, within the scope of the police, are necessary with a view to granting the dispatch of ships and boats;
– Carry out the acts of inquiry into maritime claims, carrying out all the necessary steps for the respective procedural investigation;
– Practice the acts and carry out the necessary steps to comply with the determinations of the Captain of Porto in the scope of navigation security, namely in the scope of decisions taken in relation to the closing of the bar, access to territorial waters, access and navigation in inland and territorial waters, transport of dangerous cargo, and control of anchorages;
Surveillance, inspection and enforcement
– Carry out surveillance and inspection of port spaces and their activities;
– Make arrests of foreigners who enter or remain illegally in Portuguese territory.
– Carry out, in accordance with civil registration legislation, the investigation of occurrences in the event of shipwrecks;
– Carry out, under legally defined terms, the acts and measures aimed at the detention, and retention, of ships and vessels, as well as the verification of the act of prohibition to leave the port determined by the Captain of the Port;
– Carry out the necessary measures, in particular precautionary measures, in terms of underwater cultural heritage;
– Enforce the Beach Notice and other rules and regulations regarding assistance to bathers, and carry out inspection and police measures in bathing spaces;
– Supervise compliance with legal regimes in the field of fisheries, applying the precautionary measures that are defined by the Captain of Porto;
– To supervise nautical-sports and maritime-tourist activities, verifying documentation and conditions in which they develop, and applying the measures provided for in the respective legal regimes;
– Apply the measures that, within the scope of protection and preservation of the marine environment with regard to living and inert resources, fall within the scope of the repression of illegal acts and the fight against pollution of the sea;
– Intervene to establish order on board ships and vessels whenever there is a danger to the safety and disturbance of the port’s tranquillity, or when required by the respective captain or consul of the Flag State;
– Intervene in order to establish public order on board vessels that make maritime connections as well as in docks, pontoons, anchorages and other port spaces;
– Check the conditions of access on board ships and vessels, in order to guarantee the safety of people and the maintenance of order;
It is also incumbent upon the Maritime Police, as a criminal police body:
– Under the direction of the Public Prosecutor, carry out investigations and investigations, particularly with regard to crimes of marine pollution, theft of engines, crimes on board (assaults, thefts, hostages), crimes against the safety of navigation, crimes of capture or diversion of ships, attack on water safety and dangerous shipboarding by water, and crimes of destruction or capture of protected species of fauna and flora.