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IP/08/888

Brussels, 5th June 2008

Vessel traffic monitoring and information system: Commission acts against Italy

The European Commission sent today a reasoned opinion to Italy for failing to transpose correctly into national law EU legislation on the system for monitoring the traffic of ships in EU waters. This aims to enhance safety at sea and to limit the effects of accidents. Sending a reasoned opinion is the last step before lodging a formal complaint to the Court of Justice.

The Commission has decided to act against Italy for failure to adequately transpose a Directive[1] aiming to enhance the safety of maritime traffic by improving authorities' response to incidents, accidents and potentially dangerous situations at sea. It thus contributes to better prevention and detection of pollution by ships.

The Directive is part of the second maritime package adopted after the Erika disaster. It sets out the obligation to notify the maritime authorities, in particular if a ship is carrying dangerous or polluting goods. The Directive also provides for the monitoring of hazardous ships and for 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. Among the reasons why the Commission believes the Italian legislation does not correctly transpose the Directive is the reduced scope of some of the Italian provisions (exclusion of shipowners and of ships of less than 300 gross tonnage from obligations of the Directive). The Commission also has concerns over the Italian provisions dealing with the obligation to fit ships with Voyage Data Recorders and on enforcement.

The Italian authorities have recently adopted the enabling text allowing them to adopt the necessary corrective measures. However, no such measures have been notified to the Commission.


[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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