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Brussels, 29 January 2009

Maritime safety: Commission requires proper implementation of port State control rules

The European Commission decided today to send reasoned opinions – the last step before lodging a case to the Court of Justice – to Estonia, France and Latvia for failure to respect EU Directive on port State control of shipping.

Estonia, France and Latvia have not yet implemented properly the 1995 Directive[1], amended following the Erika accident, which aims to reduce substandard shipping in Community waters. The Directive promotes compliance with international and European legislation on maritime safety, establishes common criteria for control of ships by the port State and harmonizes procedures on inspection and detention.

The Commission action was launched on the basis of the findings by European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) teams during inspection visits to Member States. These visits are part of a monitoring program designed to assess how the Directive is implemented in practice in each Member State.

Most common irregularities concern failure by Member States to apply sanctions for breaching the national implementing measures and failure to charge full re-inspection costs to ship-owners and operators or their representatives.

[1] Council Directive 95/21/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.

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