Procedure : 2005/0242(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0072/2009

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 10/03/2009 - 12
CRE 10/03/2009 - 12

Votes :

PV 11/03/2009 - 5.11
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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PE 416.644v02-00 A6-0072/2009

on the Council common position for adopting a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the insurance of shipowners for maritime claims

(14287/2/2008 – C6‑0483/2008 – 2005/0242(COD))

Committee on Transport and Tourism

Rapporteur: Gilles Savary



on the Council common position for adopting a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the insurance of shipowners for maritime claims

(14287/2/2008 – C6‑0483/2008 – 2005/0242(COD))

(Codecision procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Council common position (14287/2/2008 – C6‑0483/2008)(1),

–   having regard to its position at first reading(2) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2005)0593),

–   having regard to the amended Commission proposal (COM(2007)0674),

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

–   having regard to Rule 67 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A6‑0072/2009),

1.  Approves the common position;

2.  Notes that the act is adopted in accordance with the common position;

3.  Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council pursuant to Article 254(1) of the EC Treaty;

4.  Instructs its Secretary-General to sign the act, once it has been verified that all the procedures have been duly completed, and, in agreement with the Secretary-General of the Council, to have it published in the Official Journal of the European Union;

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


OJ C 330 E , 30.12.2008, p. 7.


OJ C 27 E, 31.1.2008, p. 166.


1. Background and comments on procedure

On 10 January 2006, the Commission presented to the European Parliament and the Council a proposal for a directive on the civil liability and financial guarantees of shipowners(1). This proposal formed an integral part of the Third Maritime Safety Package, also called ERIKA III, consisting of seven legislative proposals.

The Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions adopted their opinions on the Commission proposal on 15 June and 13 September 2006, respectively.

During its sitting of 29 March 2007 the European Parliament adopted at first reading by a very large majority a legislative resolution accompanied by 25 amendments(2). In these amendments Parliament sought primarily to strengthen the international regime in respect of the civil liability of shipowners and compensation of third parties for damage related to maritime transport (LLMC 1996(3)) which apply within the European Union. It also proposed that Member States be asked to ratify the HNS Convention (chemical hazards) within the deadline for transposition of the directive and enable it to be integrated in Community law. Parliament also wished to introduce a broad interpretation of the concept of wilful misconduct so as to allow the courts the possibility of lifting the liability ceiling in cases where the party liable, had he acted in a proper professional manner, should have been aware of the probable damage that would result.

On 24 October 2007 the Commission presented a modified proposal on the basis of Article 250, paragraph 2, of the Treaty. This proposal took over almost wholesale Parliament's 23 amendments, with the exception of the amendment on the establishment of a Community Office responsible for keeping a register of financial guarantee certificates issued.(4)

On 7 April 2008 the Council conducted a policy debate on this proposal and the proposal for a directive on compliance with flag State requirements. During this debate a majority of Member States opposed these texts and decided to detach them from the "ERIKA III" package and not to formulate a common position.

Your rapporteur then invoked a judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the judgment in the 'Commune de Mesquer' (case C-188/07) of 24 June 2008, as a substantive new fact which, under Rule 62 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure, would allow a common position to be amended during second reading. Your rapporteur obtained the assent of the other rapporteurs for the package texts which have been the subject of common positions to insert the substance of the proposal for a directive on 'civil liability [..] together with the appropriate references. These amendments were adopted by Parliament in second reading and included in the two other maritime package directives, namely the directive on port State control and the directive on the establishment of a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system. This completely new procedure of reinserting a proposal for a directive rejected by the Council into a directive during a legislative procedure has obliged the Council to issue a position on this text.

In September 2008, following an informal meeting of transport ministers in la Rochelle, the French Presidency submitted to Member States a revised version of the proposal.

Despite very strong opposition within the Council, Member States reached an agreement on a binding legislative instrument, since this is a directive limited to the obligation to provide insurance. Moreover, they undertook to produce a declaration by Member States on the ratification of the IMO's major international conventions on civil liability and compensation for damage(5). On 9 December 2008, the Council, having reached a political agreement at its meeting of 9 October 2008, unanimously adopted a common position, in accordance with Article 251, paragraph 2.

The Commission published a communication to inform Parliament thereof, in accordance with Article 251, paragraph 2, second indent. In its conclusions it emphasised that the text adopted by the Council brought added value(6).

2. Assessment of the Council's common position and commentary

The common position on the directive which is now entitled 'directive ... on the insurance of shipowners for maritime claims', although very different from the Commission's initial proposal and Parliament's position at first reading, retains a number of key elements and represents considerable progress.

- the directive retains the provision that all ships flying the flag of a Member State and all ships flying the flag of a third country are required to have insurance in place when they enter a maritime area under a Member State's jurisdiction (Article 4).

- the amount of compulsory insurance is laid down in accordance with the ceilings set in the LLMC Convention of 1996. The advantage of the 1996 Convention is that it sets liability ceilings high enough to ensure that in most cases victims can be properly compensated (cargo not covered by the HNS Convention, containers, etc.).

- compliance with the compulsory insurance requirement is proved by the existence of a certificate on board the ship (Article 6). This applies to all owners of ships entering waters under the jurisdiction of the Member States. Verification of the existence of an insurance certificate on board the ship shall be carried out during an inspection by the Member State in whose jurisdiction the port lies, in accordance with the provisions and procedures drawn up by the directive on port state control.

- as a new departure, the common position provides for penalties where a ship is found not to be carrying a certificate on board. The ship in question may either be detained according to the procedure provided for in the directive on port state control or expelled by the competent authority. Following the expulsion order, every Member State shall be obliged to refuse entry of the ship into any of its ports until the shipowner provides the insurance certificate (Article 5).

- the Council common position also takes up Parliament's initial proposal to introduce penalties in the event of breaches of the provision of the directive (Article 7).

Furthermore, in a statement on maritime safety, Member States have undertaken to ratify by 1 January 2012 at the latest the major international conventions, in particular:

- the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992;

- the International Convention on the establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage 1992

- the Protocol of 1996 to the Convention on Limitation of Civil liability for Maritime Claims, 1976;

- the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution damage, 2001 ('Bunker Oil' Convention)

In the same statement Member States have undertaken to reach an agreement within the IMO on liability and compensation for damage in connection with the carraige of hazardous and noxious substances by sea (HNS Convention).

3.        Substance of the recommendation

Your rapporteur would like to emphasise the manifest efforts made by the Council to re-examine a text which it had first rejected.

In view of:

-  the undeniable progress agreed on as regards the ratification of the major international conventions, and also the establishment of an insurance requirement;

-  the agreement reached in conciliation on 8 December 2008 by the Council and Parliament on a maritime safety package to which the proposal for a directive under review initially belonged;

Your rapporteur would ask you not to amend the Council’s common position and to approve the draft recommendation which will be put to the vote.


COM (2005) 593 final - 2005/0242 (COD)




Convention on the 'Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims'.,


COM (2007) 674 final.


Declaration issued on 9 October and entered in the minutes of the Council sitting of 9 December.


COM(2008) 846 final.



Insurance of shipowners for maritime claims


14287/2/2008 – C6-0483/2008 – 2005/0242(COD)

Date of Parliament’s first reading – P number

29.3.2007                     T6-0094/2007

Commission proposal

COM(2005)0593 - C6-0039/2006

Amended Commission proposal


Date receipt of common position announced in plenary


Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary




       Date appointed

Gilles Savary




Discussed in committee





Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Gabriele Albertini, Paolo Costa, Michael Cramer, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Arūnas Degutis, Petr Duchoň, Saïd El Khadraoui, Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Francesco Ferrari, Georg Jarzembowski, Stanisław Jałowiecki, Timothy Kirkhope, Jaromír Kohlíček, Sepp Kusstatscher, Jörg Leichtfried, Bogusław Liberadzki, Eva Lichtenberger, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Erik Meijer, Josu Ortuondo Larrea, Reinhard Rack, Ulrike Rodust, Luca Romagnoli, Brian Simpson, Renate Sommer, Dirk Sterckx, Ulrich Stockmann, Michel Teychenné, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Johannes Blokland, Philip Bradbourn, Luigi Cocilovo, Jas Gawronski, Pedro Guerreiro, Lily Jacobs, Rosa Miguélez Ramos, Corien Wortmann-Kool

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