MEPs oppose terrorism powers for European Maritime Safety Agency

The Parliament’s Transport Committee has agreed to a task list for the EU’s Maritime Safety Agency but was against giving it control over security issues.

On 21 January 2004, the European Parliament's Transport Committee adopted a report on new tasks for the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), which was originally set up to deal with marine pollution and safety following the Erika disaster of December 1999. MEPs backed the Commission's proposal that EMSA should operate specialised 'pollution response ships' as well as equipment for collecting oil and other harmful substances from the sea.

MEPs previously said they also want EMSA to play a co-ordination role in the enforcement of the directive on sanctions for polluting ships. They ask EMSA to set up an EU public online database on illegal discharges, as well as on ships that do not comply with the directive (see EURACTIV,

14 January 2004).

However, MEPs are doubtful about the idea of widening the agency's remit to include security issues. They said EMSA could not be given responsibilities such as combating terrorism, which must continue to be under Member States' control. The committee therefore adopted several amendments to clarify and define more precisely the tasks and powers of EMSA.

Meanwhile, the Commission and the IMO announced on 21 January that they will enhance their co-operation to better serve maritime safety and security and environmental protection.


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