RECOMMENDATION FOR SECOND READING on the Council common position for adopting a European Parliament and Council directive establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system and repealing Council Directive 93/75/EEC
(11367/1/2001 – C5‑0635/2001 – 2000/0325(COD))

22 March 2002 - ***II

Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism
Rapporteur: Dirk Sterckx

Procedure : 2000/0325(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
A5-0095/2002
Texts tabled :
A5-0095/2002
Debates :
Votes :
Texts adopted :

PROCEDURAL PAGE

At the sitting of 14 June 2001 Parliament adopted its position at first reading on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council directive on establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system and repealing Council Directive 93/75/EEC (COM(2000) 802 - 2000/0325 (COD)).

At the sitting of 17 January 2002 the President of Parliament announced that the common position had been received and referred to the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism (11367/1/2001 - C5-0635/2001).

The committee had appointed Dirk Sterckx rapporteur at its meeting of 24 January 2001.

It considered the common position and draft recommendation for second reading at its meetings of 22 January 2002, 20 February 2002 and 21 March 2002.

At the last meeting it adopted the draft legislative resolution unanimously.

The following were present for the vote: Rijk van Dam, acting chairman; Helmuth Markov, vice-chairman; Dirk Sterckx, rapporteur; Pedro Aparicio Sánchez (for Rosa Miguélez Ramos), Emmanouil Bakopoulos, Carlos Bautista Ojeda (for Camilo Nogueira Román), Philip Charles Bradbourn, Felipe Camisón Asensio, Den Dover (for Jacqueline Foster), Alain Esclopé, Mathieu J.H. Grosch, Konstantinos Hatzidakis, Juan de Dios Izquierdo Collado, Georg Jarzembowski, Elisabeth Jeggle (for Reinhard Rack), Karsten Knolle (for Ingo Schmitt), Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Constanze Angela Krehl (for Garrelt Duin), Giorgio Lisi, Sérgio Marques, Emmanouil Mastorakis, Erik Meijer, Paolo Pastorelli (for Francesco Musotto, pursuant to Rule 153(2)), Wilhelm Ernst Piecyk, Samuli Pohjamo, Bernard Poignant, Alonso José Puerta, Agnes Schierhuber (for Karla M.H. Peijs), Elisabeth Schroedter (for Daniel Marc Cohn-Bendit), Renate Sommer, Joaquim Vairinhos, Herman Vermeer, Mark Francis Watts, Brigitte Wenzel-Perillo (for Rolf Berend) and Jan Marinus Wiersma (for Danielle Darras).

The recommendation for second reading was tabled on 22 March 2002.

The deadline for tabling amendments will be indicated in the draft agenda for the relevant part-session.

DRAFT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

European Parliament legislative resolution on the Council common position for adopting a European Parliament and Council directive on establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system and repealing Council Directive 93/75/EEC (11367/1/2001 – C5‑0635/2001 – 2000/0325(COD))

(Codecision procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Council common position (11367/1/2001 – C5‑0635/2001),

–   having regard to its position at first reading[1] on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2000) 802[2]),

–   having regard to the Commission's amended proposal (COM(2001) 592[3]),

–   having regard to Article 251(2) of the EC Treaty,

–   having regard to Rule 80 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism (A5‑0095/2002),

1.   Amends the common position as follows;

2.   Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.

Council common positionAmendments by Parliament
Amendment 1
Recital 15

(15)   Where a Member State considers, upon a sea state and weather forecast provided by a qualified meteorological information service, that exceptionally bad weather and sea conditions are creating a serious threat for the safety of human life or of pollution, it may take any appropriate measures, which might include a prohibition to leave port, until the situation returns to normal. In case of a possible risk to safety or of pollution, it may recommend ships not to leave the ports. If the master chooses to leave the port, he/she does so in any case under his/her own responsibility.

(15)   Where a competent authority designated by a Member State considers, upon a sea state and weather forecast provided by a qualified meteorological information service, that exceptionally bad weather or sea conditions are creating a serious threat for the safety of human life or of pollution, it should inform the master of a ship which intends to enter or leave the port of the situation and may take any other appropriate measures. Without prejudice to the duty of assistance to ships in distress, these might include a prohibition to enter or to leave port, until the situation returns to normal. In case of a possible risk to safety or of pollution and taking into account the specific situation in the port concerned, it may recommend ships not to leave the port. If the master chooses to leave the port, he/she does so in any case under his/her own responsibility and states the reasons for his/her decision.

Justification

The Council has taken up the essence of the Parliament’s amendment in first reading. However, the Council is still only speaking about ”vessels leaving the port”. It is important to specify that in case of bad weather a Member State can not only restrict departure but also entry in port.

In first reading Parliament stressed that the master should state reasons for his decision to leave port.

Amendment 2
Recital 16

(16)   Non-availability of a place of refuge may have serious consequences in the event of an accident at sea. Member States should therefore draw up plans whereby ships in distress may, if the situation so requires, be given refuge in the best conditions possible.

(16)   Non-availability of a place of refuge may have serious consequences in the event of an accident at sea. Member States should therefore draw up plans whereby ships in distress may, if the situation so requires, be given refuge in their ports or any other sheltered area in the best conditions possible. Where necessary and feasible, these plans should include the provision of adequate means and facilities for assistance, salvage and pollution response.

 

Ports accommodating a ship in distress should be able to count on the prompt compensation of the costs and potential damage involved in this operation. Therefore, the Commission should examine the possibilities of an adequate system of compensation for ports in the Community accommodating a ship in distress and the feasibility of requiring a ship coming to a community port to be adequately insured.

Justification

The Council has agreed on extending the concept of a port of refuge to include protected points along the coastline designated by the competent authorities where vessels may take shelter if there is no port nearby.

The readiness of ports to accommodate ships in distress is bound to increase if they know that they can be compensated reasonably promptly for the cost and damage arising from this. However, your rapporteur knows that it is difficult to realise this idea in practice and proposes therefore a slightly different phrasing.

Amendment 3
Article 18, paragraphs 1 and 2

1.   When a Member State, in the event of exceptionally bad weather and sea conditions, considers that:

1.   Where the competent authorities designated by the Member States consider, in the event of exceptionally bad weather and sea conditions, that there is a serious threat of pollution of its shipping areas or coastal zones, or of the shipping areas or coastal zones of other States or that the safety of human life is in danger:

(a)   a particular ship is likely to create a serious threat for the safety of human life at sea or of pollution of its shipping areas or coastal zones, or of the shipping areas or coastal zones of other States, it may take any appropriate measures, which may include a prohibition to leave port, until it has been established that there is no longer a risk to the human life and/or to the environment;

(a)   they should, where possible, fully inform the master of a ship which is in the port area concerned and intends to enter or leave a port of the sea state and weather conditions and, when relevant and possible, of the danger they may present to his ship, the cargo, the crew and the passengers;

(b)    ships' departure can create a risk threat to safety or of pollution, it may recommend ships not to leave the ports located in the areas affected.

(b)    they may take, without prejudice to the duty of assistance to ships in distress and in accordance with Article 20, any other appropriate measures, which may include a recommendation or a prohibition either for a particular ship or for ships in general to enter or leave the port in the areas affected, until it has been established that there is no longer a risk to human life and/or to the environment;

 

c)   they must take appropriate measures to limit as much as possible or, if necessary, prohibit the bunkering of ships in their territorial waters.

2.   The master shall inform the company of the appropriate measures or recommendations referred to under paragraph 1. These do however not prejudice the decision of the master on the basis of his/her professional judgement corresponding to the SOLAS Convention.

2.   The master shall inform the company of the appropriate measures or recommendations referred to under paragraph 1. These do not however prejudice the decision of the master on the basis of his/her professional judgement corresponding to the SOLAS Convention. When the decision taken by the master of the ship is not in accordance with the measures referred to under paragraph 1, he/she shall inform the competent authorities of the reasons for his/her decision.

Justification

Measures must be taken not only when there is a risk of pollution but also when human lives are endangered. It is not really appropriate to impose a general Europe-wide ban on ships leaving port in gale conditions. Everything depends on the position of the port, the type of vessel, the cargo and the crew. The decision must be left to the local authorities, who must warn the master of the ship of the situation. It is also necessary for the master to show that he has received the relevant information from the port authorities before deciding what action to take. He must, in addition, state the reasons for his decision.

The respective rights and responsibilities of ports, national authorities and masters of vessels must be clearly delineated where decisions are to be made about vessels entering or leaving port in bad weather and sea conditions.

Bunkering at sea is a very risky operation even under normal weather conditions. The competent authorities should therefore take the necessary measures to limit or ban such operations in gale conditions.

Amendment 4
Artricle 20

Member States, having consulted the parties concerned, shall draw up, taking into account relevant guidelines by IMO, plans to accommodate, in the waters under their jurisdiction, ships in distress. Such plans shall contain the necessary arrangements and procedures taking into account operational and environmental constraints, to ensure that ships in distress may immediately go to a place of refuge subject to authorisation by the competent authority. The plans may contain provisions to make tugs and ship repair facilities available.

Member States, having consulted the parties concerned, shall draw up, taking into account relevant guidelines by IMO, plans to accommodate, in the waters under their jurisdiction, ships in distress. Such plans shall contain the necessary arrangements and procedures taking into account operational and environmental constraints, to ensure that ships in distress may immediately go to a place of refuge subject to authorisation by the competent authority. Where the Member State considers it necessary and feasible, the plans must contain arrangements for the provision of adequate means and facilities for assistance, salvage and pollution response..

Plans for accommodating ships in distress shall be made available upon demand. Member States shall inform the Commission of the measures taken pursuant to the first subparagraph.

Plans for accommodating ships in distress shall be made available upon demand. Member States shall inform the Commission, within 18 months of the entry into force of this Directive, of the measures taken in application of the preceding paragraph.

Justification

The Council has agreed on extending the concept of a port of refuge to include protected points along the coastline designated by the competent authorities where vessels may take shelter if there is no port nearby.

The necessary resources for efficient assistance to vessels in distress and salvage must be readily available.

The rapporteur wants to establish an obligation to inform within 18 months of the entry into force of this directive which measures they have taken to apply this article. The European Commission has also taken up this obligation in their modified proposal.

Amendment 5
Article 26, paragraph 1

1.   Member States must report to the Commission by ........... 1 on the progress in implementing this Directive and, in particular, the provisions of Articles 9, 10, 18, 20 and 23. Member States must report to the Commission by 31 December 2009 on the full implementation of the Directive.

1.   Member States must report to the Commission by …...... 1 on the progress in implementing this Directive and, in particular, the provisions of Articles 9, 10, 18, 20, 22, 23 and 25. Member States must report to the Commission by 31 December 2009 on the full implementation of the Directive.

1 Three years from the date referred to in Article 29(1).

1 Three years from the date referred to in Article 29(1).

Justification

It is most important to us that this directive should be adopted and enter into force swiftly. Your rapporteur therefore proposes that we make it clear to the Commission that although the directive broadly suffices it may be improved and developed at a future point.

The readiness of ports to accommodate ships in distress is bound to increase if they know that they can be compensated reasonably promptly for the cost and damage arising from this. However, your rapporteur realises that this idea has to be studied more thoroughly before being developed.

Amendment 6
Article 26, paragraph 2 a (new)
 

2a.   The Commission shall examine the need and feasibility of measures at Community level aiming at facilitating the recovery or compensation of costs and damages occurred for the accommodation of ships in distress, including appropriate requirements for insurance or other financial security.

 

The Commission shall report, within three years from the date referred to in Article 29, paragraph 1 the results of such examination to the European Parliament and to the Council.

Justification

See justification to Amendment 4.

Amendment 7
ANNEX II, title 1, point 2 (d)

(d)   ships, other than passenger ships and tankers, of 10 000 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 50 000 gross tonnage: not later than 1 July 2005;

(d)   ships, other than passenger ships and tankers, of 10 000 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 50 000 gross tonnage: not later than 1 July 2005 or, as regards ships engaged in international voyages, any earlier date decided within the framework of the IMO;

Justification

Member States have agreed to support the US submission in IMO concerning the anticipated application of AIS carriage at the latest in 2004 (instead of 2007 as a latest date in the Council Common position). Your rapporteur believes we should take this into consideration in second reading. Before the vote in second reading we will have be able to take into account the outcome of the February meeting in IMO where this issue will be discussed. If this initiative succeeds, the directive can rapidly be amended before its adoption in order to include the new dates agreed at international level.

Amendment 8
ANNEX II, title 1, point 2 (e)

(e)   ships, other than passenger ships and tankers, of 3 000 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 10 000 gross tonnage: not later than 1 July 2006;

(e)   ships, other than passenger ships and tankers, of 3 000 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 10 000 gross tonnage: not later than 1 July 2006 or, as regards ships engaged in international voyages, any earlier date decided within the framework of the IMO;

Justification

See justification to Amendment 7.

Amendment 9
ANNEX II, title 1, point 2 (f)

(f)   ships, other than passenger ships and tankers, of 300 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 3 000 gross tonnage: not later than 1 July 2007.

(f)   ships, other than passenger ships and tankers, of 300 gross tonnage and upwards but less than 3 000 gross tonnage: not later than 1 July 2007 or, as regards ships engaged in international voyages, any earlier date decided within the framework of the IMO.

Justification

See justification to Amendment 7.

  • [1] OJ C 53E of 28.2.02, p. 311.
  • [2] OJ C 120E of 24.4.01, p. 67.
  • [3] OJ C 362E of 18.12.01, p. 255.

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

The Commission's proposal

In the aftermath of the ERIKA disaster the Commission brought forward two sets of legislative proposals aimed at improving safety at sea and reducing the risk of pollution resulting from maritime accidents. This proposal is part of the second package and addresses vessel traffic monitoring and its related information system. It requires the use of transponders and Voyage Data recorders (black boxes); vessels to comply with routing, reporting and traffic control schemes; improved identification of vessels; the development of common data bases and better information transmission between coastal stations; more pro-active action by coastal states when a vessel is a hazard; and a prohibition on leaving port in dangerous weather conditions.

First Reading in the European Parliament

The Parliament adopted 29 amendments to strengthen and clarify the proposed directive. The substantial amendments dealt with;

§   the circumstances under which vessels might be retained in port;

§    equipping enough ports with heavy tugs and other equipment to act as ports or anchorages of refuge;

§   compensation to ports accommodating vessels in distress which pollute or damage in or near port and related insurance requirements;

§   an indication of bunker capacity;

§   a requirement on Member State vessels or those calling at EU ports to participate in a vessel traffic service;

§   the use of equipment permitting the transmission of information between shore installations in different Member States;

§    black box data to be made available for casualty investigation and published;

§    a requirement for in-depth evaluation of the Directive;

§    bring forward by a year the compulsory use of black boxes and transponders.

The Amended Commission Proposal

The Commission accepted Parliament's amendments in its amended proposal with these principal exceptions. The Commission opposed

-   compensation to ports and the related insurance requirement for vessels

-   equipping ports with tugs and other facilities

-   an interdiction on bunkering in coastal waters in bad weather

-   bringing forward the dates for fitting transponders.

The Council's Common Position

The Council has reordered much of the directive in the interests of clarity and has largely accepted the Commission's amended proposal. It has introduced amendments of its own which the rapporteur finds acceptable, such as aligning casualty investigation procedures with IMO provisions. The Council refused Parliament's amendments on

-   compensation to ports and the related insurance requirement for vessels

-   equipping ports with tugs with other facilities

-   an interdiction on bunkering in coastal waters in bad weather

-   bringing forward the dates for fitting transponders.

The Commission's view of the Common position

The Commission accepts that the Common Position respects the key principles of the original proposal and notes that the Common Position was adopted unanimously.

Second Reading and beyond

In your rapporteur's view progress in improving the draft Directive has been made in adoption of the Common Position, not least in the acceptance of a number of Parliament's amendments. To ensure further progress in the second reading phase your rapporteur will re-table amendments adopted at first reading in Parliament on

compensation to ports and related insurance requirements.

In the rapporteur's view it is simply unrealistic to expect ports to welcome vessels with difficulties if this might result in the costs of consequential pollution or damage being met by the port or the appropriate national authority.

equipping ports with tugs and other facilities

It is almost self-evident that any port or anchorage of refuge must be equipped with heavy tugs and other equipment to assist vessels in distress, especially if located in or near a busy shipping channel.

interdiction on bunkering in territorial waters in bad weather

Bunkering at sea is inherently risky and should not be permitted in territorial waters in bad weather because of the pollution threat it represents.

bringing forward the dates for fitting transponders

The possibility of earlier dates for fitting transponders being agreed at IMO must be accommodated.

Your rapporteur is anxious to come to an early agreement with Council and will work in that direction. Council could facilitate this by recognising the coherence of the amendments to be re-tabled and continue to a successful conclusion the progress made by all the institutions on this proposal.