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Parliamentary question - E-003146/2022(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius on behalf of the European Commission

EU environmental legislation does not seem to apply in the present situation as the activities take place, as acknowledged in the present question, in international waters where Greece does not have jurisdiction or has not exercised its sovereign rights . In addition, Greek national legislation can also not apply to such international waters.

Nevertheless, taking into account the flag State responsibilities, Member States can monitor and verify potential spills from oil tankers when their flagged ships are involved.

EU initiatives and tools assist Member States in tackling the cases of maritime pollution offences such as the deliberate or negligent discharge of oil. Member States’ marine strategies[1] should address contamination of their seas, including oil spills.

The European Maritime Safety Agency[2] assists Member States in their maritime surveillance, via the Union Maritime Information and Exchange System[3] and in particular the satellite surveillance services (CleanSeaNet)[4] to monitor for potential oil spills.

Based on the Ship-Source Pollution Directive[5], there is the possibility to prosecute Annex I illegal discharges of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships[6], regardless of where they occur, whether in territorial waters, the Exclusive Economic Zone or high seas.

Member States can adopt additional or stricter legislation, as long as the legislation is compatible with the EU and the international law.

Such legislation would be applicable only in the areas where the Member State has jurisdiction and has exercised its sovereign rights.

Last updated: 12 December 2022
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