Commission tables new maritime safety measures

The new rules are aimed at checking the safety of every single vessel sailing in EU waters, said EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot. Companies sailing junk ships are to be blacklisted.

“We will establish zero tolerance” for junk ships said Jacques Barrot on Wednesday (23 November) as he presented the Commission’s third maritime safety package to the press in Brussels. The new draft rules, a package of seven directives, still need approval by the EU Council of Ministers and Parliament before they become law, a process which usually takes about two years.

Barrot pointed out that only 25% of ships are currently being checked for safety standards. With the new rules, “all will be checked,” asserted Barrot who said the safety controls will be targeted at the most suspicious ships first. Substandard vessels found in EU waters will be towed to the nearest “safe harbour” which will need to be equipped with specific apparatus. Companies sailing substandard vessels will be blacklisted and gradual sanctions applied, eventually leading to a ban. 

The third maritime safety package also foresees integrating the international Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC) into EU law. The convention, which foresees compensation in the event of an incident, has at present been ratified by only seven EU member states, Barrot pointed out. 

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