Commission Takes France and Ireland to Court of Justice

Thursday, June 27, 2002
The Commission decided to bring an action in the Court of Justice against France and Ireland for their failure to enforce legislation on the State control of vessels in their ports. Directive 95/21/EC on port State control aims in fact to reduce the number of substandard ships in Community waters and lays down that at least 25 percent of the number of ships entering the ports of a Member State should be inspected. The Commission is asking the Court of Justice to declare that, in not observing this annual threshold of 25 percent of ships inspected by the port State, as provided for in the Community legislation, Ireland and France have infringed European maritime safety rules. One of the key provisions of the Directive on port State control of ships lays down that each Member State is to carry out an annual total number of inspections corresponding to at least 25 percent of the number of ships entering its ports. However, the number of inspections carried out by the two Member States in question remains clearly insufficient, despite the financial and training measures they have put into effect. Indeed, while the situation in Ireland has improved slightly compared with the last few years (21 percent in 2001), it continues to deteriorate in France (9.6 percent in 2001). The purpose of Directive 95/21/EC on port State control is to reduce drastically the number of substandard ships in Community waters. To this end, the Directive - the provisions of which were reinforced following the Erika accident - fixes common criteria for inspecting ships which use a port of the Union. These criteria comply with the undertakings given by the authorities of the Member States under the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control.
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