EC: Safety and Port State Control Require Proper Implementation of Rules

Monday, December 19, 2005
The European Commission sent reasoned opinions – the last step before lodging a case to the Court of Justice – to Italy and Malta for failure to respect EU legislation on port State control of shipping. Latvia was also sent a reasoned opinion for failure to transpose into national law EU legislation on maritime safety and the prevention of pollution by ships. “While the European Commission has just adopted a third set of measures to reinforce maritime safety, I am deeply concerned that some countries still have not implemented properly legislation on Port State control that dates back to 2002”, said Vice-President Jacques Barrot in charge of transport. The Commission has decided to act against Italy and Malta for failure to adequately transpose a Directive[1] adopted in 1995, whose provisions were strengthened in the wake of the Erika accident. The Directive aims at reducing substandard shipping in the waters under the jurisdiction of Member States through increased compliance with international and relevant Community legislation on maritime safety, protection of the marine environment and living and working conditions on board ships of all flags. To this purpose, the Directive establishes common criteria for control of ships by the port State and harmonizes procedures on inspection and detention of substandard ships. While Italy has notified to the Commission national measures transposing the Directive which contain a series of legal/technical inconsistencies, a single non-conformity to the Directive has been noted as regards Malta : the acceptance as port State inspectors of persons without proper qualification. In fact, Maltese law allows non qualified “inspectors” employed before 1 May 2004 to continue to work as port State control inspectors while the Directive only allows inspection tasks to be performed by persons without the required qualifications if they were employed as such by their administrations before June 1995. The Commission has also decided to act against Latvia for failure to transpose a Directive[2] adopted in 2002. The purpose of the Directive is to enable quicker updating of Community legislation according to developments in the international instruments in the field of maritime safety, prevention of pollution from ships and shipboard living and working conditions. This Directive should have been transposed into Latvian law by 1 May 2004.

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