Transport MEPs backed the provisional agreement reached with the Maltese EU Council Presidency on updating passenger ship safety rules in a vote on Tuesday.

The updated rules for passenger ship safety set out technical standards for ships’ construction, stability and fire protection. The new rules clarify that ships built of aluminium should also be covered, with a time-limited exemption for member states with large fleets of aluminium ships. Safety of ships less than 24 meters long would be regulated at national level.

 

To speed up search and rescue efforts, the agreed rules simplify transmission of information on passengers in case of emergencies. Whereas currently the data on people on board may be stored by the shipping company, the new rules require this information to be sent in digital format to the national authorities within 15 minutes of a ship’s departure.

 

Revised rules on inspections of ro-ro ferries and high-speed passenger craft eliminate overlaps that have emerged over time with the development of inspections regimes in order to reduce the administrative burden for ship owners and boost safety by ensuring inspections are made at regular intervals.

 

Statements by rapporteurs following the provisional deal reached between EP and Council negotiators.

 

Next steps

 

The texts voted in the Transport and Tourism Committee now needs to be approved by the full house of the Parliament.

 

Background

 

The Commission presented proposals for updating passenger ship safety rules in June 2016 following an evaluation of existing rules in the Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) Programme. According to the evaluation the EU passenger ship safety framework meets the safety objectives, but these can be reached in a simpler and more proportionate manner.