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IP/06/883

Brussels, 29 June 2006

Port State Control: Commission sends a reasoned opinion to Portugal and brings Malta to the Court of Justice

The Commission has sent a reasoned opinion – the last step before lodging a case to the Court of Justice – to Portugal and brought Malta to Court for failure to respect EU legislation on port State control of shipping.

The Commission has decided to act against Portugal and Malta for failure to adequately transpose a Directive[1] adopted in 1995, whose provisions were strengthened in the wake of the Erika accident. The Directive aims at reducing substandard shipping in the waters under the jurisdiction of Member States through increased compliance with international and relevant Community legislation on maritime safety, protection of the marine environment and living and working conditions on board ships of all flags. To this purpose, the directive establishes common criteria for control of ships by the port State and harmonises procedures on inspection and detention of substandard ships.

Whilst Portugal has notified the Commission of the national measures to transpose the directive, these contain several legal/technical inconsistencies. Malta is being accused of a single non-conformity with the directive: the acceptance as port State inspectors of persons without proper qualification. In fact, Maltese law allows non qualified “inspectors” employed before 1 May 2004 to continue to work as port State control inspectors while the directive only allows inspection tasks to be performed by persons without the required qualifications if they were employed as such before June 1995.


[1] Council Directive 1995/21/EC of 19 June 1995 on port State control of shipping (OJ L 157, 7.7.1995, p. 1) as last amended by Directive 2002/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.


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