Council agrees on European Agency for Maritime Security

The EU ministers of transport reached a political agreement on the creation of a European Agency for Maritime Security, at the Transport Council on 6-7 December 2001. The ministers also adopted a Directive concerning the reporting formalities for ships arriving in and departing from Community ports.

The European Agency for Maritime Security will provide the Commission and the Member States with the scientific and technical support necessary to ensure high-level and uniform maritime security and pollution prevention in the EU. Concerning the Agency for Maritime Security, agreements were reached on the three following issues:

  • composition of the Board: 1 representative of each Member State; 4 representatives of the Commission; 4 independent experts appointed by the Commission (no voting rights)
  • location of the Agency: will de decided at the Laeken European Council (14-15 Dec)
  • linguistic regime of the Agency: 11 official EU languages

On the same day, the Council adopted a Directive concerning the reporting formalities for ships when entering or leaving one of the EU’s harbours. The objective of this Directive is to simplify and harmonise the administrative documents ships have to fill out when stopping at a harbour, in an attempt to encourage short sea shipping.

 

This proposal for a Directive is part of the second package of measures aimed at the improvement of maritime safety in Europe (the so-called "Erika II package") since the environmental catastrophe after the shipwreck of the oil tanker Erika in 1999.

Ministers already agreed on a first package ("Erika I") in December 2000. The adopted measures of Erika I include the strengthening of Port State Control by banning ships over 15 years of age from all Community ports; classification societies to check the structural soundness of ships; and a ban on oil tankers with a single hull.

 

 

Last April, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) agreed to phase out single-hull tankers by 2021, with the possibility of elimination of these tankers at the regional level from 2015 on, which the EU plans to do.

 

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