It also concerns the designation of places of refuge for ships in distress

2011.5.20-EURO.jpgAt the end of April the European Commission published a report on the implementation of Directive 2002/59/EC. This Directive, which in the meantime has been amended as part of Europe's 3rd Maritime Safety Package, establishes a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system (SafeSeaNet), but it also concerns the designation of places of refuge for ships in distress.

The Commission's report reveals a satisfactory implementation of the provisions by the EU Member States. It focuses on the implementation of the vessel traffic monitoring aspects of the Directive. It stresses that the Member States have lived up to expectations as regards the setting up of on-shore AIS stations and the sharing of maritime traffic information through SafeSeaNet.

A small exception to this concerns WETREP, the Western European Tanker Reporting System, which is operated by six European coastal states. According to the report, these Member States have expressed doubts on the obligation of exchanging WETREP data through SafeSeaNet. However, the Commission is confident that a practical solution can be found.

As regards accidents and incidents at sea and places of refuge the Commission reports that all coastal Member States have legally transposed the corresponding provisions into national law. However, some concerns remain in relation to the independence of decision-making of those Member State authorities responsible for handling maritime emergencies.

This concerns in particular the authorities' ability to decide about the accommodation of ships in places of refuge. The Commission reiterates that this issue was addressed as part of the 3rd Maritime Safety Package and explains that it will report in more detail on this matter before the end of 2011.

INTERTANKO welcomes the successful implementation of the VTMS Directive and invites the Commission to come forward with the additional report on places of refuge as soon as possible.

A copy of the VTMS Directive can be obtained by clicking here

The Commission's implementation report is available here

Source: Intertanko