|European Parliament Fact Sheets|
4.5.9. Sea transport: traffic and safety rules
Title V [IV] of the EC Treaty does not directly regulate either air or sea transport. The Treaty's draftsmen saw no need to include them in it, as international organisations already regulated both sectors.
Safety, in terms of protecting not only the health and lives of people at sea (both crews and passengers) but also the environment, is a fundamental objective of sea transport policy. Studies have shown that the current level of safety of sea transport is relatively satisfactory.
a. The role of international law
b. Main points of Community policy
- In its resolution of 8 June 1993 the Council approved the programme and defined the following objectives:
2. Basic rules
As there are international rules to regulate safety at sea, the Community's main contribution has been to transpose them into Community law, ensuring they have legal force and uniform application throughout the Member States.
a. Directive 94/58 of 22 November 1994 on minimum training conditions for seafarers gives the 1978 IMO Convention on standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers the force of Community law.
b. In the same way, Council Regulation 2978/94 of 21 November 1994 implements IMO Resolution A.747(18) on the application of tonnage measurement of ballast spaces in segregated ballast oil tankers . It aims to ensure that this type of vessel, which is more environmentally friendly than conventional oil tankers, does not attract higher port dues in view of its greater tonnage for the same load capacity.
c. Directive 96/98 of 20 December 1996 concerning on-board equipment aims to ensure uniform application of the SOLAS Convention on marine equipment for commercial vessels and enforce the IMO resolutions deriving from it.
d. Safety of passenger craft
- The safety of vessels which are not covered by international rules is the subject of Directive 98/18 of 17 March 1998 on safety rules and standards for passenger ships plying between two Community ports.
- Directive 98/41 of 18 June 1998 on the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships will make it possible to monitor the number of passengers and improve the effectiveness and speed of rescue operations.
3. Instruments for monitoring shipping
a. General monitoring of compliance
b. Special monitoring of shipping with dangerous goods
c. Harmonising statistics
d. Harmonising monitoring arrangements
4. Recent developments
Following the wreck of the Erika, the Commission submitted a package of three proposals to improve safety at sea: faster development of double-hull ships and new rules on classification societies and on inspection by the authorities of ships in port (COM(2000)142).ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Parliament has strongly supported the provisions governing maritime traffic and safety at sea. When it approved the Commission communication in its resolution of 11 March 1994 on a common policy on safe seas, Parliament stressed the need for better enforcement of existing standards and reinforcement of controls; it also called for national coastguard services to be consolidated into a European coastguard service and for a comprehensive vessel traffic management system. Parliament also called for introduction of a satellite navigation system, the improvement and extension of technical standards and Community criteria on compulsory pilotage.
Following the loss of the Estonia, Parliament asked the Commission to submit a proposal, which eventually became Regulation 3051/95. Its resolution of 1 February 1996 on safety at sea confirmed its 1994 proposals and called for tougher penalties for negligence or omission that resulted in accidents. In connection with the Sea Empress accident off the Welsh coast, Parliament called in its resolution of 27 March 1996 for action to delimit Community territorial waters that are environmentally sensitive or difficult for shipping and define special rules for navigating in them.