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Parliamentary questions
6 July 2007
E-3461/07
WRITTEN QUESTION by Corien Wortmann-Kool (PPE‑DE) to the Commission

 Subject: Problems relating to certification of maritime sailing ships
 Answer(s) 

Passenger ships carrying more than 12 passengers have to comply with minimum safety requirements pursuant to the International Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) or EU Directive 98/18/EC. These requirements are difficult to apply to maritime sailing ships. In the case of inland waterway transport, Directive 2006/87/EC(1) lays down specific rules for historic vessels.

In the case of historic maritime sailing ships, a memorandum of understanding concluded between nine Member States provides for mutual recognition of national certificates for vessels of this type with an equivalent level of safety. Such traditional vessels are not covered by international classification societies. In the Netherlands there is a special, nationally recognised classification society for Netherlands maritime sailing ships, Register Holland. Such bodies cannot be accorded international status because of the quantitative requirements applying to recognised international classification societies. Given that a number of Member States, including Denmark and Germany, have announced that they will no longer recognise national certificates from 2008, there is a threat to the continued use of historic maritime sailing ships in international transport, which will have serious repercussions for famous sailing events.

1. Is the Commission aware of the problem of international recognition of traditional maritime sailing ships?

2. What is the Commission's view of the reasons given by Denmark, Germany and others for no longer recognising national certificates for traditional maritime sailing ships from 2008?

3. Does the Commission acknowledge that, if national certificates are no longer accepted and international certification remains impossible, the future of maritime sailing ships and of sailing events will de facto be in jeopardy?

4. What steps is the Commission prepared to take to tackle this problem? What scope is there for introducing specific rules for this type of historic vessel, such as already exist in the inland shipping sector?

5. What scope is there, in the Commission's view, for taking steps to enable the quantitative requirements applying to recognised classification societies to be lowered, so that in future certificates issued by a special classification society for traditional maritime sailing ships may be internationally recognised?

(1)OJ L 389, 30.12.2006, p. 1.

Original language of question: NLOJ C 45, 16/02/2008
Last updated: 17 July 2007Legal notice