Safety Issues relating to Maritime Passenger Transport

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Over the course of the next few months, the content of this site will expand rapidly.

Among the topics we aim to cover, are the governance structures of EU maritime law, inland waterway transport, rules applying to seafarers, trade regulations, security issues, port regulations and competion law.

The sinking of ferryboats (Herald of Free Enterprise 1987, Estonia 1994, Express Samina 2000) and cruiseships (Costa Concordia 2012) provided major incentives for tackling maritime passenger safety. Since the 1990s, a body of EU law relevant to safety issues has developed that not only implements international law for the European region, but adds significantly to safety regulations in European waters and EU vessels.

Better regulation on EU passenger ship safety legislation

The EU regulatory framework for maritime passenger safety is under review. A “regulatory fitness check” (REFIT) is being carried out.

 

16.10.2015:

Better regulation for better safety: adjusting course on EU passenger ship safety legislation

Today the Commission delivered the result of a fitness check (REFIT) of the EU legislation on safety of passenger ships. With almost 400 million passengers passing through EU ports every year, maritime transport plays an important role in the mobility of EU citizens. While the fitness check confirms that the existing legislation performs well, it also shows that the current framework can be simplified. As a follow-up, the Commission therefore envisages to remove outdated, ambiguous or disproportionate requirements. This is line with the Better Regulation Agenda adopted by the Commission in May 2015. EU Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc stressed that "Both cutting red tape for business and enhancing the safety of European citizens is at the heart of the Commission's transport policy".

Better regulation on EU passenger ship safety legislation

REFIT-follow-up: Roadmap “Simplification of the EU passenger ship safety legislation”

 

International law

SOLAS: International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of 1974.

SAR: International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue of 1979.

Paris MoU: Paris Memorandum of Understanding of port state control.

Stockholm Agreement Concerning Specific Stability Requirements for Ro-Ro Passenger Ships undertaking Regular Scheduled International Voyages Between or to or from Designated Ports in Northwest Europe and the Baltic Sea of 28 February 1996. Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom are signatory States.

IMO Briefing 47/2006 of 27 November 2006: “New passenger ship safety standards set for adoption at IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee”

Ro-Ro Ferries: More on the relevant regulations on the IMO web site.

EU ratification

Art. 216 TFEU reads:

  1. The Union may conclude an agreement with one or more third countries or international organisations where the Treaties so provide or where the conclusion of an agreement is necessary in order to achieve, within the framework of the Union’s policies, one of the objectives referred to in the Treaties, or is provided for in a legally binding Union act or is likely to affect common rules or alter their scope.
  2. Agreements concluded by the Union are binding upon the institutions of the Union and on its Member States.

European law

Primary law

Article 91(1)(c) and (d) TFEU states:

For the purpose of implementing Article 90, and taking into account the distinctive features of transport, the European Parliament and the Council shall, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure and after consulting the EESC and the CoR, lay down:

(a) common rules applicable to international transport to or from the territory of a Member State or passing across the territory of one or more Member States;

(b) the conditions under which non-resident carriers may operate transport services within a Member State;

(c) measures to improve transport safety;

(d) any other appropriate provisions.

Secondary law

Commission Implementing Decision of 19 December 2013 on a notification by the United Kingdom of measures it intends to adopt in accordance with Article 9(2) and (3) of Directive 2009/45/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on safety rules and standards for passenger ships. Full text

Directive 2009/45/EC: On safety rules and standards for passenger ships (former Directive 98/18/EC). Full text available at EUR-LEX.

Directive (EU) 2016/844 amending Directive 2009/45/EC: On safety rules and standards for passenger ships

Commission 6.6.2016 European Commission adopts proposals to simplify and improve passenger ship safety rules

Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2009/45/EC on safety rules and standards for passenger ships (COM(2016) 369)

Directive 2010/65: On reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States. Full text available at EUR-LEX.

Safety of ro-ro ferries

Directive 1999/35/EC on a system of mandatory surveys for the safe operation of regular ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft services. Full text at EUR-LEX.

Commission 6.6.2016 European Commission adopts proposals to simplify and improve passenger ship safety rules

Proposal for a Directive on a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft in regular service and amending Directive 2009/16/EC on port State control and repealing Council Directive 1999/35/EC (COM(2016) 371) Proposal, annexes

Regulation (EC) No 336/2006 on the implementation of the International Safety Management Code within the Community (replacing Regulation (EC) No 3051/95 on the safety management of roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries). Full text at EUR-LEX.

Commission Decision of 5 August 2003 on compliance of the fire-extinguishing system used on the ro-ro ferry “Finnsailor” (IMO No 8401444) with Council Directive 1999/35/EC. OJ L 198, 6.8.2003, p. 17.

Directive 2003/25/EC on specific stability requirements for ro-ro passenger ships. Full text at EUR-LEX.

Accident investigation

Regulation (EU) No 1286/2011 adopting a common methodology for investigating marine casualties and incidents developed pursuant to Art. 5(4) of Directive 2009/18/EC. OJ L 328, 10.12.2011, p. 36.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 651/2011 of 5.7.2011 adopting the rules of procedure of the permanent cooperation framework established by Member States in cooperation with the Commission pursuant to Art. 10 of Directive 2009/18/EC. OJ L 177, 6.7.2011, p. 18.

EMSA

EMSA on ship safety standards.

EMSA on visits and inspections for passenger ships.

 

Statements of EU institutions

Commission 17.12.2012: IP/12/1370 “Transport: Commission reinforces safety for EU ships”

Commission 24.4.2012: IP/12/391 “Transport: Commission sets out priorities for passenger ship safety”

Commission 3.2.2012: IP/12/97 “Safety of passenger ships: EU Transport Commissioner receives commitment from Cruise industry to fully engage in review of passenger ship safety rules at EU and IMO”

Commission 24.1.2012: SPEECH/12/31, Siim Kallas Vice-President and Commissioner for Transport Costa Concordia: Statement on EU passenger ship safety review, European Parliament, Brussels

European Parliament 24.1.2012: “Concordia shipwreck: tighten up evacuation training checks”

Commission 20.1.2012: MEMO/12/25 “Safety of passenger ships – Costa Concordia accident and Commission review of safety legislation” 

Commission 13.9.2010: IP/10/1115 “Maritime safety: new EU rules to ‘name and shame’ shipping companies with poor safety records

European Parliament 11.3.2009: IP/09/390 “Maritime safety: towards better prevention of maritime accidents

Commission 11.03.2009: MEMO/09/105 “3rd maritime safety package general framework

Commission 26.1.2007: IP/07/100 “Improving safety at sea in Europe

Commission 23.11.2005: IP/05/1457 “Stringent measures to guarantee the safety of maritime transport

Commission 23.11.2005: MEMO/05/438 “Third Maritime Safety Package

Communication on the enhanced safety of passenger ships in the Community. COM(2002) 158 final.

Commission, 23.10.1998: IP/98/926 "Commission welcomes survey report on ferry safety"

Commission 18.2.1998: IP/98/161 "European Commission proposes new safety measures for roll-on/roll-off ferries and high speed passenger craft operating in the European Union"

Council 22.12.1994: Council Resolution on the safety of roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries. OJ C 379 31.12.1994, p. 8.

Council 8.6.1993: Council Resolution on a common policy on safe seas. OJ C 271, 7.10.1993, p.1.

Council 19.6.1990: Resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 19.6.1990 on improving passenger ferry safety. OJ C 206 18.8.1990, p. 3

Council 26.6.1978: Council Recommendation 78/584/EEC on the ratification of conventions on safety in shipping. OJ L 194, 19.7.1978, p. 17.

 

Written Questions by Members of the European Parliament (rule 130)

Written Question “Passenger boat regulations” with answer by Commissioner Bulc of 2.5.2016

Written Question E-002059-15 “Life-saving innovations in the cruise shipbuilding sector” with answer by Commissioner Bulc of 19.3.2015

Written Question P-001563-15 “Passenger ship safety” with answer by Commissioner Bulc of 3.3.2015

Written Question E-005551-14 “Monitoring the consumption of cruise ships” with answer by Commissioner Oettinger of 1.7.2014

Written Question E-004667-13 by MEP Marielle de Sarnez “Enhancing safety standards for megaships” with answer by Commissioner Kallas of 6.6.2013

Written Question E-3198/2012 by MEP Georgios Toussas: “Safety of human life at sea” with answer of Commissioner Kallas of 15.5.2012.

Written Question E-773/2012 by Rareş-Lucian Niculescu: “Review of maritime safety legislation” with answer of Commissioner Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission of 28.2.2012

Written Question E-669/2012 by MEP Andreas Mölzer: “Security provisions for cruise ships” with answer of Commissioner Kallas on behalf of the Commission of 22.2.2012

Written Question E-574/2012 by Aldo Patriciello: “Maritime safety” with answer of Commissioner Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission of 23.2.2012

Written Question E-572/2012 by Debora Serracchiani, Guido Milana and Silvia Costa: “Passenger ships” with answer of Commissioner Mr Kallas on behalf of the Commission of 29.2.2012

Written Question E-508/2012 by MEP Niccolò Rinaldi: “Minimum safety distances of international shipping routes from coastlines” with answer of Commissioner Kallas of 27.2.2012

Written Question E-12651/2011 by Yannick Jadot: “Compliance with the Third Maritime Safety Package (Directive 2009/17/EC) and the Natura 2000 Directive following the grounding of the TK Bremen in Brittany” with answer of Commissioner Kallas of 14.2.2012

Written Question E-3880/09 by Anna Rosbach to the Commission: “EU legislation on maritime safety” with answer of Commissioner Tajani of 15.9.2009

Written Question E-4746/05 by Christine De Veyrac to the Commission: “Maritime safety” with answer of Commissioner Barrot of 1.2.2006

Written Question E-856/05 by Georgios Karatzaferis: “Implementation of Directive 98/35/EC on the minimum level of training of seafarers” with answer of Commissioner Barrot of 15.4.2005

Registration of persons on board passenger ships

A summary of the relevant EU legislation is available at Europa.eu.

Directive 98/41/EC: On the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from ports of the Member States of the Community, as amended. Full text available at EUR-LEX.

Commission 6.6.2016 European Commission adopts proposals to simplify and improve passenger ship safety rules

Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 98/41/EC and amending Directive 2010/65/EU on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States (COM(2016) 370)

Commission 24.4.2012: MEMO/12/270 “Safety of passenger ships – frequently asked questions”

Commission 23.10.1998: IP/98/926 “Commission welcomes survey report on ferry safety”

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