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Brussels, 6th May 2008

Vessel traffic monitoring and information system: the Commission brings Poland to the Court of Justice

The European Commission decided today to lodge a case to the Court of Justice over the incorrect transposition by Poland into its national law of EU legislation on the Community system to monitor the traffic of ships in EU waters.

The Directive in question[1] aims to enhance the safety of maritime traffic by improving the response of authorities to incidents, accidents and potentially dangerous situations at sea and thus contribute to a better prevention and 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 goods. The directive also provides for the monitoring of hazardous ships and for the intervention in the event of accidents at sea. In this context, it sets out the obligation for Member States to drawn up plans to accommodate ships in distress in their coastal waters. It was deemed to be transposed by 1 May 2004 (accession date).

The Commission found that the Polish legislation did not adequately incorporate the provisions of the Directive on the reporting of accidents and incidents at sea, on the notification of dangerous and polluting goods and on the exclusion of all recreational vessels from the scope of the Directive.

[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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