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Brussels, 27th June 2007

Vessel traffic monitoring and information system: Poland and Malta targeted by the Commission

The European Commission sent today a reasoned opinion to Poland and Malta due to their incorrect transposition into national law of EU legislation on the Community system to monitor the traffic of ships in European waters.

The Commission has decided to act against Poland and Malta for failure to adequately transpose EU legislation on shipping.

The Directive in question[1] enhances the safety of maritime traffic by improving the response of authorities to incidents, accidents and potentially dangerous situations at sea. It thereby contributs to prevention and better detection of pollution by ships.

The Directive is an essential part of the second maritime package adopted by the Community in the wake of the Erika disaster. It sets out the obligation to notify the maritime authorities, in particular in case a ship is carrying dangerous or polluting cargos. The directive also provides for the intervention in the event of accidents at sea. In this context, it sets out the obligation for Member States to draw up plans to accommodate ships in distress in their coastal waters. The two Member States should have transposed the Directive by the date of their accession to the European Union, the 1st May 2004.

The Commission found fault in the Maltese provisions dealing with the obligation to fit ships with devices such as Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and Voyage Data Recorders (VDR), whilst Poland is criticised, among others, because of its provisions on the reporting of accidents and incidents at sea and on the notification of dangerous and polluting goods.

[1] Directive 2002/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27.6.2002 establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system (JO L 208 of 5.8.2002, p. 10).

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