Passenger ship safety update  

To maintain the world’s highest level of safety for sea travel, the EP is set to modernise EU passenger ship safety rules in a vote on Wednesday.

The new rules will:

  • speed up transmission of passenger data to the rescue services and families in the event of an accident,
  • remove overlaps and loopholes in safety inspections of ferries and high speed craft,
  • include aluminium ships to comply with common EU ship safety standards.

A 2015 evaluation confirmed that current EU passenger ship safety rules are meeting safety objectives and accident statistics ranked EU waters among the safest.

To ease the administrative burden on ship owners, clarify overlapping rules and respond to technical progress in the sector, the Commission proposed updating and simplifying those rules in 2016, without compromising on safety standards.

Parliament and Council agreed on modernising three directives on passenger registration, technical standards for ships used to offer domestic passenger services and inspections of roll-on/roll-off ferries and high-speed craft in June.

Quick facts


In 2014, the total number of passengers embarking and disembarking at EU ports was estimated at 400 million, of which 120 million passengers travelled between ports in a member state.


EU legislation on passenger ship safety complements international and national standards, provides for safer ships and more efficient handling of ship accidents.


Ships on international voyages (including between two member states) have to comply with international conventions and certain EU rules, while ships on domestic voyages (between ports of one member state) have to follow EU and national rules.

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure (1st reading agreement)

2016/0170(COD), 2016/0171(COD), 2016/0172(COD)

Debate: Tuesday, 3 October

Vote:  Wednesday, 4 October