Επιστροφή στο Forum : EU - Transport Committee advocates stricter maritime safety rules

29-04-2007, 18:11
Maritime accident numbers may be falling, but the threats stemming from failure to comply with safety standards remain, said the EP Transport Committee on Tuesday. Even though, in the wake of the Erika and Prestige oil-spill accidents, the EU did introduce substantive legislation to improve maritime safety, further measures are needed to prevent accidents and pollution, and to deal with accident aftermaths, the committee believes.

Boosting the effectiveness of existing safety measures is the key aim of the European Commission's "third maritime safety package", upon which the committee approved its seven reports - all almost unanimously - on 27 February. The 27-strong EU is a major maritime power, and its maritime safety rules need to be made robust enough to prevent maritime accidents such as the recent ones off the UK coast and in the Messina straits, it said. These seven reports are scheduled to be put to a plenary vote in April.

Flag state obligations - Rapporteur Marta Vincenzi (PES, IT)

This report is one of the key elements in the package and is strongly opposed by the Council. The European Commission has already proposed that the various International Maritime Organisation conventions on flag state obligations should be turned into binding legislation. EU Member States must be required to monitor compliance with international standards by ships that fly their flags, says the report, adding that this is the key "missing link" in the existing Community legislation. The requisite standards are laid down in the SOLAS and the MARPOL conventions.

A committee amendment would make it a precondition for the first registration of a ship in a Member State that this Member State should ascertain that the ship complies with the relevant international rules. The Committee also strongly favoured making the International Maritime Organisation's flag state obligations more acceptable to EU Member States. For example, surveyors and investigators should be well trained, and have appropriate inspection means and methods.

Port State Control - Rapporteur Dominique Vlasto (EPP-ED, FR)

The committee welcomed this proposal to improve the quality and effectiveness of checks on ships in European ports. Its amendments sought to strengthen the inspection regime, the criteria for selecting ships for inspection, and the parameters needed to calculate a ship's risk profile. It called on the Commission, with the assistance of the European Maritime Safety Agency, to develop a data base showing the risk profiles of ships and indicating all ships due for inspection.

An expanded inspection regime should apply to vessels that have a high risk profile and to passenger ships and oil and chemical tankers more than 12 years old. Under certain conditions, ships that have been detained in port more than twice in the preceding 36 months could be banned from EU ports. The committee also said that the role of pilots in detecting possible shortcomings on board ships should be extended, and if port authorities learn that a ship has anomalies or apparent defects, then they should immediately inform the competent authority of the port state concerned.

Ships in distress and traffic monitoring - Rapporteur Dirk Sterckx (ALDE, BE)

Establishing a clear and precise legal framework for places of refuge for ships in distress is the key aim of this proposal to amend the Directive on the Community traffic monitoring system. The committee said that there should be no "margin of discretion" for Member States in applying this decision on places of refuge, and that an independent authority should be set up to designate ports of refuge for vessels in distress. Members also proposed that all fishing vessels over 15 metres long should be equipped with the Automatic Identification System (AIS).

Carrier liability - Rapporteur Paolo Costa (ALDE, IT)

This proposal aims to ensure that ship passengers enjoy the same protection as those in other types of transport, i.e. modernised carrier liability rules, a mandatory insurance system and a satisfactory compensation system.

Ship inspections and survey organisations - Rapporteur Luis de Grandes Pascual (EPP-ED, ES)

This proposal aims to improve the quality of the work of the so-called classification societies: bodies authorised by the Member States to carry out, on their behalf, inspection, checking and certification tasks relating to ships flying their flag. The committee advocates creating an independent assessment committee to monitor the work of classification societies. This committee should be empowered to act independently of the recognised organisations and should have the necessary means to carry out its duties effectively and to the highest possible standards, said the committee.

Civil liability - Rapporteur Gilles Savary (PES, FR)

This proposal aims to put in place "core" rules, common to all Member States, governing civil liability, insurance for ship-owners, and also the liability of any person responsible for the operation of a ship. It would incorporate the International Maritime Organisation Convention on the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC) into EU law.

Investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector - Rapporteur Jaromir Kohlicek (EUL/NGL, CZ)

Finally, the committee took the view that there should be clear Community guidelines for technical investigations following accidents at sea. As in the aviation sector, the aim is to learn lessons with the view to issuing safety recommendations for prevention purposes.

Procedure: Co-decision, first reading - Plenary vote: April (Strasbourg)

Committee on Transport and Tourism
In the chair: : Paolo COSTA (ALDE, IT)

29-04-2007, 18:13
The European Maritime Safety Agency, created in the aftermath of the Erika disaster, will contribute to the enhancement of the overall maritime safety system in the Community. Its goals are, through its tasks, to reduce the risk of maritime accidents, marine pollution from ships and the loss of human lives at sea.
In general terms, the Agency will provide technical and scientific advice to the Commission in the field of maritime safety and prevention of pollution by ships in the continuous process of updating and developing new legislation, monitoring its implementation and evaluating the effectiveness of the measures in place. Agency officials will closely cooperate with Member States maritime services.
Some of the key areas where the Agency will be active are: strengthening of the Port State Control regime; auditing of the Community-recognised classification societies; development of a common methodology for the investigation of maritime accidents and; the establishment of a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system.
The Agency will work very closely with Member States. It will respond to their specific requests in relation to the practical implementation of Community legislation, such as the recently adopted directive on traffic monitoring, and may organise appropriate training activities. The Agency will facilitate co-operation between the Member States and disseminate best practices in the Community. The Agency will also play a positive role in the process of European Union enlargement, by assisting the accession countries in the implementation of Community legislation on maritime safety and the prevention of pollution by ships.
The Agency will contribute to the process of evaluating the effectiveness of Community legislation by providing the Commission and the Member states with objective, reliable and comparable information and data on maritime safety and on ship pollution. Following major shipping disasters in European waters, such as the sinking of the ferry Estonia and the tankers Erika and Prestige, very substantial packages of EU legislation have been adopted to improve maritime safety and to reduce pollution from ships. An overview of the most important directives and regulations is presented here (http://www.emsa.europa.eu/end645d005.html).
To ensure a proper, harmonised and effective implementation of this vast package of legislation, an ongoing process of dialogue and cooperation is necessary between all the parties concerned. In summary, the main task of EMSA is to organise and structure this dialogue between 27 European States and the European Commission.

18-05-2007, 18:30
Wasn't there any auditing to the Classification Societies by the Relevant Administrations which they represent (as Recognized Safety/Security Organizations etc)?

This is somehthing new? !!!

19-05-2007, 00:09
According to EMSA web page:
Due to a number of serious vessel casualties that have occurred in recent years, ship safety is a subject that is currently receiving a high level of attention in national, European and international fora.
Inadequate safety standards can lead to loss of life, pollution, destruction of the environment and significant financial costs and losses to communities, governments, industry and others.
Ship safety standards are developed and set, at the international level, by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). They are subsequently implemented and enforced by both national maritime authorities and, under delegated powers, by recognised organisations. European legislation clarifies, and sometimes reinforces, the ship safety standards that have been established by IMO Conventions.
Recent concerns within the EU, that ship safety standards were not being effectively administered by those with the authority to do so, have contributed to the establishment of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).
EMSA's task, in conjunction with the European Commission, is to ensure that Community legislation on ship safety issues is effectively and consistently applied, by all Member States, to the sea going vessels that fall under their jurisdiction. This task involves monitoring and appraising the development and implementation of legislation dealing with the design, construction, operational integrity and safety of ships and their equipment.

Source: http://www.emsa.europa.eu/end185d007d002d003.html

19-05-2007, 12:54
So the term ''delegated powers'' means than nobody checks the work of the classification societies? I know most of them have high standards but who is checking them? Are all the 'recognized' classification societies members of IACS (International Association of Classification Societies)?

20-05-2007, 21:00
The resposibility to evaluate the quality of "recognised organisations" belongs to Flag State.
According to IMO (http://www.imo.org/) :
"How does IMO implement legislation?
It doesn't. IMO was established to adopt legislation. Governments are responsible for implementing it. When a Government accepts an IMO Convention it agrees to make it part of its own national law and to enforce it just like any other law. The problem is that some countries lack the expertise, experience and resources necessary to do this properly. Others perhaps put enforcement fairly low down their list of priorities.

With 167 Governments as Members IMO has plenty of teeth but some of them don't bite. The result is that serious casualty rates - probably the best way of seeing how effective Governments are at implementing legislation - vary enormously from flag to flag. The worst fleets have casualty rates that are a hundred times worse than those of the best.

IMO is concerned about this problem and in 1992 set up a special Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (http://www.imo.org/Newsroom/mainframe.asp?topic_id=106) to improve the performance of Governments. Another way of raising standards is through port State control (http://www.imo.org/Safety/mainframe.asp?topic_id=159). The most important IMO conventions contain provisions for Governments to inspect foreign ships that visit their ports to ensure that they meet IMO standards. If they do not they can be detained until repairs are carried out. Experience has shown that this works best if countries join together to form regional port State control organizations.

IMO has encouraged this process and agreements have been signed covering Europe and the north Atlantic (Paris MOU); Asia and the Pacific (Tokyo MOU); Latin America (Acuerdo de Viña del Mar); Caribbean (Caribbean MOU); West and Central Africa (Abuja MOU); the Black Sea region (Black Sea MOU); the Mediterranean (Mediterranean MOU); the Indian Ocean (Indian Ocean MOU) and the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC MoU (Riyadh MoU)). IMO also has an extensive technical co-operation programme (http://www.imo.org/TCD/mainframe.asp?topic_id=27) which concentrates on improving the ability of developing countries to help themselves. It concentrates on developing human resources through maritime training and similar activities.

IMOhas adopted the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme (http://www.imo.org/Safety/mainframe.asp?topic_id=841). The Audit Scheme is designed to help promote maritime safety and environmental protection by assessing how effectively Member States implement and enforce relevant IMO Convention standards, and by providing them with feedback and advice on their current performance.
What about the classification societies?
All ships must be surveyed in ordered to be issued certificates which establish their seaworthiness, type of ship, and so onand this is the responsibility of the flag State of the vessel. However, the flag State (http://www.imo.org/Safety/mainframe.asp?topic_id=156) ("Administration") may "entrust the inspections and surveys (http://www.imo.org/Safety/mainframe.asp?topic_id=361) either to surveyors nominated for the the purpose or to organizations recognized by it" (SOLAS Chapter 1, regulation 6).

In pracice these "recognized organizations" are often the classification societies.

The International Association of Classification Societies(IACS (http://www.iacs.org.uk/)) is a Non-Governmental Organization which was granted Consultative Status with IMO in 1969."

21-05-2007, 09:00
Please justify your opinion on safety rules.

21-05-2007, 10:03
I have the strong feeling that the real problem is not the lack of regulation but the in deep training of seamen and shore personnel involved in the operation and management of ships (including, of course, coastguard and legal bodies). There is need for further planning in the ship-shore interaction and common principles to be accepted, understood and implied. Moreover we must focus on the fact that people on board are coming from a long and possibly very tiring voyage and they have sustained psychological stress, home and sea sickness, and other problems not really encountered by an ordinal labour person on shore.
Actually perhaps there is a need for deregulation and not for regulation!

21-05-2007, 10:20
Why not enhanced safety rules accompanied by better conditions on board? After all the well being of the seamen is one of the most important factors with concern to safety (if not the most important).

I know the cost factor applies here but...it is something which should be considered in my opinion.

I would like to hear the opinions of seamen before I 'cast' my vote.

21-05-2007, 16:19
[quote=Petros;33890]Why not enhanced safety rules accompanied by better conditions on board? [quote]
Well, strange as it may seem, those two items, say better targets, are somehow contraversial between each other! The reason why is the fact that some regulations do not take in pace with the real situations and possibilities on board and turn out to be just another paperwork which may actually prevent seamen from executing their real duties in a proper way and doesnot imrove safety in practice. The construction of the rules is not supported by an implication feasibility research. So, there is often a gap between "legality" and reality. This gap might lead potentially to a safety gap. Therefore we don't need voting new rules but examining if the existing ones are possible to be followed by people on board and if there is sufficient support from offshore facilities. We must consider the ship and seamen not something that comes to threaten our ports and shore but as something we ought to support by our port and shore facilities in general in order to have the most positive result for society during a cost-benefit analysis concerning the operation of ships. By this point of view there is little need for regulation and much for organization of shore facilities in an efficient and ship serving orieneted way.

22-05-2007, 09:56
So you think the regulations are more than enough to cover safety? The most important factor for safety is crew fatigue / More people on board would reduce accidents even more?

Better training and proper implementation of existing regulations would also improve the safety standards.

22-05-2007, 16:31
Yes, fatigue management is vital part of the right solution. There is also need for research and decisions through international bodies and unified approach. It is very possible to conclude that there is need for increase of personnel on board. In this case there must be an international concordance in order to supersede asymmetry in competition conditions between countries and flags. The new ILO convention could be a very useful tool in this direction.

24-05-2007, 12:36
Can you tell us the main differences between The new ILO convention and the existing one in this respect (safety, crew fatigue etc)?

24-05-2007, 16:16
As matter of fact the core difference doesn' t refer to that subjects, but at the fact that the new convention is accepted by both the seamen trade unions and the shipowners' unions and new methods for quick revesion are set and furthermore no better treatment of no member flags ships is allowed. Therefore there may be new rules universaly applied.

24-05-2007, 18:38
Therefore more and stricter regulations are probably not required. Proper implementation of the existing ones, ratification of conventions by all administrations and thorough analysis of working conditions on board would help improve safety further.

As a member of this forum once mentioned: 'Nobody asks the seamen's opinion for important things that concern them before they take the decisions for them'.

25-05-2007, 17:45
Well, actually it depends on the results of the aforementioned research. Of course, such a research must include the seafarers’ point of view.
But any regulation must be implied in the proper way not "as it is", it must be easily digestible and this doesn't need only law makers work, this is other people job...

27-05-2007, 12:44
Every regulation is useless and imposes more risks, if it cannot be implemented properly due to the fact that it isn't easily digestible, workable, effective and reasonably sustained.