On October 29, the current European Commission
, which according to schedule will be replaced by a new team from the end of next year, presented its final work programme. Of particular interest to tanker owners is that for 2004 the Commission confirmed its intention to present a proposal for an "Erika III" package on maritime safety before May 2004.
Most of the elements which will form part of "Erika III" have been known to INTERTANKO for some time, but the package will consist of the Commission's proposals for six different legislative instruments:
1) A communication on the implementation of ILO provisions on the living and working conditions of seafarers: this proposal will aim at promoting EU labour standards in anticipation of the consolidation work currently taking place at the International Labour Organisation
2) Update of the Port State Control Directive: the objective of this proposal will be to simplify port state control procedures;
3) Regulation on the compliance with IMO flag State rules: the aim of this proposal will be to ensure that flag state rules are applied by all flag States in the enlarged EU. The proposal is to impose minimum criteria in the EU for Flag States;
4) Directive on Maritime Transport Management and Information System (Update of Directive 2002/59/CE): this proposal will introduce a harmonised European system on maritime traffic management;
5) Directive on Maritime Accident Investigation: this proposal will establish a legal framework for inquiries following accidents.
The package will also introduce a draft regulation on the application of the Athens Protocol on passenger liability for all traffic (national and international): this Regulation will transpose the Protocol into EU law.
The "Erika III" package is an ambitious program that may take some time before finally being adopted by all the EU institutions.