Maritime safety the result of concern for clean and safe shipping

Plan działania na rzecz lepszego

Maritime transportation is one of the most important elements of the global economy. It is estimated that about 75% of the EU’s foreign trade is carried out by sea. The European Commission has unveiled new legislative proposals to modernize EU rules aimed at maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships. Clean and modern shipping is essential if we want to ensure maritime safety in EU waters.

The legislative proposals, proposed by the EC, will equip the Union with new tools to support clean and modern shipping. They will bring the law in line with international regulations, level the playing field for all maritime players, and streamline the implementation and enforcement process. Thanks to digital solutions and closer cooperation, the European Maritime Safety Agency(EMSA) will play an important role in implementing the new requirements, providing support to member states’ administrative authorities in enforcing the new regulations.

Maritime safety – legislative proposals

The EC’s proposed legislative proposals on maritime safety pay special attention to port state control and investigation of the causes of maritime accidents, and more effective enforcement to reduce incidents and accidents, and ultimately reduce fatalities and prevent environmental pollution.

The package of proposals includes, among other things:

  • precise, internationally-based requirements for flag state inspections, as well as special EMSA training for representatives of national administrations to improve the effectiveness of inspections conducted by member state authorities against their fleets. This will enhance maritime safety and reduce the risk of environmental pollution, guaranteeing high-quality shipping services. The proposed legislation will facilitate the exchange of information between flag states on the results of their inspections and general compliance problems. EMSA will support this cooperation through a modified professional development and training program for flag state inspectors;
  • Expanding port state control with additional international regulations, such as new conventions on ballast water and sediment and wreck removal. The proposal also updates the focus of ship inspections, taking into account new requirements and placing greater emphasis on ships’ environmental performance and environmental compliance deficiencies in determining their risk profile;
  • Expanding the scope of port state control and accident investigation to include fishing vessels, which continue to be a significant safety risk. Member states may choose to apply port state control to fishing vessels calling at EU ports that measure more than 24 meters. The most serious accidents involving smaller fishing vessels, less than 15 meters in length, will have to be reported and analyzed by member states for possible lessons for the future. Flag state and port state control operations will be digitized. The widespread use of electronic certificates will also be promoted. This will be made possible primarily through EMSA’s information systems and databases;
  • Additional support from EMSA to be provided to the NCAs. research into the causes of accidents. A team of experts in various fields will be available for assistance as needed, and specialized tools and equipment will also be available.

Legislative proposals to tackle ship-source pollution

One of the ways of maritime safety, that is, preventing pollution from ships, is to prevent all kinds of illegal discharges of pollutants.

To this end, the legislative proposal:

  • Aligns EU regulations with international laws and expands their scope to include new pollutants. In addition to illegal discharges of oil and noxious liquids, which are covered by existing regulations, the Commission proposes to include discharges of noxious substances carried in packages, wastewater, garbage, as well as discharge water and pollutants from exhaust gas treatment systems (scrubbers);
  • Optimizes CleanSeaNet, EMSA’s surveillance and information exchange database, and imposes obligations for information exchange and follow-up by national authorities responsible for detecting and verifying potential pollution. The improved system will facilitate timely enforcement, as well as cooperation between member states in the event of cross-border ship-source pollution incidents;
  • Improves the framework for imposing and enforcing laws, allowing national authorities to take appropriate action when illegal discharges are found and impose penalties such as fines. The proposal outlines criteria for the effective application of administrative penalties, such as the size of the discharge, its environmental impact or the financial situation of the responsible party.

European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

The last of the legislative proposals proposed by the EC envisages updating EMSA’s mandate to better address the Agency’s role in a number of areas of maritime transport, including safety, pollution prevention and environmental protection, climate action, security, surveillance and crisis management, and digitization – including new safety and environmental tasks resulting from the legislative package described above.

The Commission and member states will be able to use EMSA’s assistance in implementing the FuelEU Maritime Regulation and extending the EU ETS to maritime transport.

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