At their last European Council meeting this year on December 7 the transport ministers of the European Union, as expected, wrapped up most
of the Erika I package. Both the amended directives on Port State Control and on licensing of classification societies were formally
adopted at the meeting. The third element of the Erika I package of proposals, the EU rules on the phasing out of single-hull tankers(identical to the changes in MARPOL 13G) will be adopted soon but are still being translated into all the eleven official EU languages.
INTERTANKO will revert with a more detailed analysis of the adopted directives in due course. Both directives were adopted in the form in
which they emerged from the so-called conciliation procedure in November. This implies that the Port State Control directive introduces
much more stringent procedures for transparency and information exchange as well as better targeting, compulsory VDRs from 2007/8 and a system for banning 'repeated sinners' flying flags with a record of poor performance in the Paris MOU area. The licensing of class directive now contains rules which might impose unlimited liability on classification societies under certain circumstances.
Last week's Council also reached so-called political agreement on the proposal for the setting up of a European Maritime Safety Agency (Erika II). It is therefore now likely that such an Agency will see the light of day towards the end of next year. On the two other Erika II
proposals: a draft directive on a monitoring and reporting system for maritime traffic and the third layer of oil spill compensation (COPE)
there is still some work to be done before agreement can be reached in the Council.