The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) outlines the requirements for refrigerated cargo ships carrying frozen fishery products to countries in the European Union (EU) in order to comply with EU regulations.
The EU has several regulations addressing the safety of food, in order to provide a high level of protection of human life and health for EU citizens.
The regulations require that ships flying the flag of non-EU countries, are inspected by the relevant competent authority and appear on a list of approved establishments for importation of frozen fishery products to the EU.
During the sanitary inspection, BMA says that the ship will be checked for cleanliness in both the holds and the accommodation. The holds will also be checked for condition of such items as bilges, gratings, ventilation, temperature control and lack of infestation by rodent or insect.
It is desirable for one or more of the holds to be chilled to their lowest temperature during the inspection, however if this is not possible the ANI should verify that the refrigeration plant is capable of achieving a temperature of -18o Celsius or lower by verification of the ship’s records
Where minor deficiencies are identified during a sanitary inspection, they have to be rectified within as short a period as possible. A follow-up inspection will not normally be required for minor deficiencies.
Where major deficiencies are identified during a sanitary inspection, such as infestation by rodents or insects, a re-inspection will be necessary when the deficiencies have been rectified.
Upon receipt of the inspection report by the BMA, it will be reviewed for accuracy and completeness. The report will also be used to assess the ship’s fitness to carry frozen fishery products.
If the ship is considered to be in a fit and suitable condition to carry frozen fishery products to the EU, the report and the BMA’s recommendation for inclusion of the ship on the list of approved establishments will be sent by the BMA to DMR.
If the ship is deemed unfit to carry frozen fishery products to the EU, the company and DMR will be advised by the BMA, with a list of measures that need to be taken to remedy the situation.
The EU reviews the applications and sends them to the competent authority of each EU Member State. Each Member State has 14 days to provide any objections to the listing. If no objections are received within the 14 day period, the ship will be added to the list of approved establishments for The Bahamas by the EU. Neither the BMA or DMR can influence the timescales for consultation and addition of a ship to the list of approved establishments.
When the ship has been added to the list of approved establishments, there is a 10-day waiting period until the list becomes valid.
Ships must not load, carry or attempt to enter EU ports with frozen fishery products bound for the EU on board, until they are on the list of approved establishments and the list’s validity date has passed.