Maritime safety: system of mandatory surveys for regular ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft services
This Directive aims to improve the safety of maritime passenger transport by ensuring compliance with safety requirements by means of a system of mandatory surveys and to provide the right for Member States to conduct, participate in or cooperate in any investigation of maritime casualties or incidents.
Council Directive 1999/35/EEC of 29 April 1999 on a system of mandatory surveys for the safe operation of regular ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft services. [Official Journal L 138 of 01.06.1999] [See amending acts].
The Directive applies to all ro-ro ferries and high-speed passenger craft operating to or from a port of a Member State on a regular service, regardless of their flag, when engaged on domestic or international voyages in sea areas of Class A. Member States may extend the scope of application to domestic voyages in other sea areas.
The purpose of the Directive is to:
- define a system of mandatory surveys capable of better ensuring the safe operation of regular ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft services to or from ports in the Member States;
- provide the right for Member States to conduct, participate in or cooperate with any investigation of maritime casualties on these services.
A service is considered a regular service if it consists of a series of crossings operated so as to serve traffic between the same two or more ports or a series of crossings from and to the same port without intermediate calls, either:
- according to a published timetable or
- with crossings so regular or frequent that they constitute a recognisable systematic series.
The Directive provides that, prior to the start of operation of a regular ro-ro ferry or high-speed passenger craft service, the Member States must check that:
- companies operating or intending to operate such ferries or craft:
- take the measures necessary for the application of the specific requirements listed in Annex 1 (right of the master to take the necessary decisions, log of navigational activities and incidents, reporting of damage to shell doors, providing elderly and disabled persons on board the craft with general information about the services to assist them, etc);
- agree in advance that the host State or any other Member State particularly concerned may carry out, participate fully in or cooperate in any investigation of a marine casualty or incident and provide them with access to the information retrieved from the VDR (voyage data recorder) of any of their vessels involved in a casualty;
- for vessels flying a flag other than that of a Member State, the administration of that flag State has accepted the company's commitment to fulfil the requirements of this Directive;
- ro-ro ferries and high-speed passenger craft meet the following requirements:
- they must carry valid certificates issued by the administration of the flag State;
- they must be surveyed for the issue of certificates in accordance with the provisions of the IMO;
- they must comply with the classification standards specified for the construction and maintenance of their hull, machinery and electrical and control installation;
- they must be fitted with a voyage date recorder (VDR) for the purpose of providing information on any casualty occurring.
- they must comply with the specific stability requirements adopted at regional level, provided that those requirements do not go beyond those specified in the Annex to Resolution 14 of the 1995 SOLAS Conference.
The Directive provides that each host State must carry out an initial specific survey in accordance with the provisions laid down in Annexes 1 and 3 so as to satisfy itself that the ro-ro ferry or high-speed passenger craft fulfils all the conditions to operate a safe regular service to or from one or more of its ports.
This survey may be carried out:
- either before the entry into operation of the ship or craft on the regular service;
- or, if the ship or craft is already operating on regular services, within 12 months of the date of implementation of the Directive.
In addition, each host State must, once in every 12-month period, carry out:
- a specific survey, in accordance with Annex III, and
- a survey during a regular service covering enough items listed in Annexes I, III and V in order to satisfy the host State that the ferry or craft continues to fulfil all the necessary requirements for safe operation.
Specific surveys are also carried out whenever the ro-ro ferry or high-speed passenger craft undergoes major repairs, alterations and modifications, when there is a change in management or flag, or a transfer of class.
Ro-ro ferries and high-speed passenger craft that have been subject to the specific surveys to the satisfaction of the host States involved are exempted from expanded inspections as provided for in Council Directive 95/21/EC.
If deficiencies are established in the course of such surveys, the host States must require the company to take the necessary measures to rectify them, following which the host States concerned verify that the rectification has been carried out to their full satisfaction. If this is not the case, they must prevent the ferry or craft from operating. The Directive provides for a right of a company to appeal against a decision to prevent operation.
The Directive makes provision for substantially interested Member States to take part in any investigation concerning maritime casualties involving a ro-ro ferry or a high-speed passenger craft operating a regular service to or from a Community port.
The Directive makes provision for several accompanying measures, including the following:
- collaboration between the host State and the administration of the flag State concerned regarding the suitability of exemptions;
- establishment of shore-based navigational guidance systems;
- communication to the Commission of a copy of the survey reports;
- ability to implement an integrated system of contingency planning for shipboard emergencies;
- establishment of operating restrictions.
The Commission will compile a database on the basis of the inspection reports provided by the Member States. The arrangements for access to the database will be decided in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Directive.
The Member States will inform third countries who bear either flag State or host State responsibilities of the requirements imposed on any company providing a regular service to or from a Community port.
The Member States will lay down the system of penalties for infringing the national provisions adopted pursuant to the Directive and take all the measures necessary to ensure that those penalties are applied.
Directive 2002/84/EC has allowed the system to be adapted and subsequent update to be made easier, subject to the changing nature of the main conventions, resolutions or other agreements which may have entered into force internationally.
|Act||Entry into force - Date of expiry||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Directive 199/35/EC||01.06.1999||01.12.2000||OJ L 138 of 1.6.1999|
|Amending act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Directive 2002/84/EC||29.11.2002||23.11.2003||OJ L 324 of 29.11.2002|