Landmark Agreement Reached To Boost Maritime Safety In Europe

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  • In a significant development for maritime safety, negotiators from the European Council presidency and the European Parliament have swiftly reached a provisional agreement to amend the 2009 directive on investigating accidents in the maritime transport sector.
  • Part of the comprehensive ‘maritime safety’ legislative package, this agreement aims to enhance the safety of maritime activities, including a focus on smaller fishing vessels.
  • The revised directive introduces measures to streamline accident investigations, improve definitions and legal provisions, and align with international regulations.

Rapid Agreement for Safer Maritime Transport

Negotiators from the European Council presidency and the European Parliament have reached a swift provisional agreement to amend the 2009 directive on investigating accidents within the maritime transport sector. The agreement is part of a broader legislative package focused on ‘maritime safety,’ aiming to ensure the safety and competitiveness of Europe’s shipping sector.

Expanded Scope for Fishing Vessels

The revised directive represents a crucial step forward in maritime safety by expanding its scope to include smaller fishing vessels. This expansion, covering vessels under 15 meters, ensures that systematic and standardized investigation processes are applied to incidents involving fishing vessels. The objective is to enhance the safeguarding of fishing vessels, their crews, and the environment.

Key Objectives of the Revised Directive

The agreement outlines key objectives for the revised directive, including the enhancement of safety for fishing vessels, crews, and the environment. The directive seeks to provide clarity on definitions and legal provisions, facilitating prompt and uniform accident investigations by member states. It also aims to strengthen the independence of accident investigation bodies, align with international regulations, and reduce administrative burdens.

Balancing Standards, Competitiveness, and Efficiency

The co-legislators have maintained the essence of the Commission’s proposal while introducing amendments for clarification and alignment with international regulations. The changes focus on ensuring consistent accident investigations across the EU, enhancing the independence of investigation bodies, and reducing administrative burdens. The revised directive aims to strike a delicate balance, maintaining high shipping standards, safeguarding competitiveness, and managing costs effectively.

Comprehensive Provisions and Alignments

The provisional agreement covers various aspects, including aligning with the IMO casualty investigation code and adjusting provisions related to conformity checks to align with other EU maritime legislation. The directive proposes a voluntary approach to implementing a quality management system for national investigation authorities, supported by implementation guidance. Notably, a 2-month deadline for preliminary assessments in accidents involving smaller fishing vessels has been introduced.

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Source: Container News

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