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IP/10/1446

Brussels, 28 October 2010

Maritime safety: Commission proposes updated mandate of the European Maritime Safety Agency

The European Commission adopted today a proposal modifying the mandate of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to enable it to deal with new challenges in an ever-changing world. EMSA is widely recognised as an important contributor to the European Union's maritime transport and safety policy in close cooperation with the Commission, the Member States and stakeholders from the sector. Developments since the agency's start in 2003 require now a limited update of its mandate.

Vice-president Siim Kallas, responsible for Transport, said: "Safety is a cornerstone of the EU transport policy. The European Maritime Safety Agency was created back in 2004 in response to disasters such as the ones involving the ferry Estonia or the tankers Erika or Prestige and I am very pleased to see it today as a well respected player, providing high value professional services to maritime transport and beyond. It is now time to update its mandate to allow it continuing successfully on this path."

The proposal

The Commission proposes to maintain EMSA's current tasks and institutional structure, ensuring continuity for the Agency’s activities which provide added value at EU-level and are well appreciated by the stakeholders. The proposal for a limited extension of EMSA's tasks reflects new needs. EMSA’s updated mandate would:

  • clarify that the Stand-by Oil Spill Response Vessels under contract by EMSA can intervene also in case of oil pollution caused by offshore installations;

  • increase EMSA's involvement in EU research (analysis of research projects and identification of research priorities);

  • extend EMSA's technical assistance to all European Neighbourhood Policy countries in order to promote the EU maritime safety policy in all the regional seas bordering the EU;

  • emphasise the role of EMSA's operational vessel traffic monitoring services as basis for extended transport and maritime information services, including in the context of the development of a Common Information Sharing Environment for the EU maritime domain;

  • extend EMSA’s assistance in the development and implementation of EU policies, such as Motorways of the Sea, e-maritime as well as environmental aspects of shipping including climate change.

Background on EMSA

Created in 2002 in the aftermath of the Erika accident, EMSA has a staff of 230 people and an annual budget of approximatively €50 million. Located in Lisbon since 2006, EMSA is one of the regulatory agencies of the EU. It provides assistance to the Commission and the Member States in the areas of maritime safety, maritime security, prevention of pollution and response to pollution caused by vessels. EMSA's main activities are: (1) monitoring of the implementation of EU legislation in Member States and third countries, (2) providing technical expertise for the development of new rules and their subsequent implementation and (3) operational services in the areas of vessel monitoring and pollution prevention and response. The Commission has taken into account recent policy developments such as the adoption of the third maritime safety package and has based its proposal on (1) the first external evaluation of the Agency, (2) the recommendations adopted by EMSA's Administrative Board and (3) EMSA's Multi-annual strategy adopted in March 2010.

For more information on EMSA visit:

http://www.emsa.europa.eu/end173.html

More details on the EU Maritime Transport Policy:

http://ec.europa.eu/transport/maritime/index_en.htm


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