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European Commission - Press release

Maritime safety: Commission sends reasoned opinion to four Member States

Brussels, 24 November 2011 – The European Commission today sent reasoned opinions to Austria, Greece, Poland and the United Kingdom for their failure to communicate what measures they were taking to transpose Directive 2009/18/EC on the investigation of accidents at sea. This is the normal procedure in the event of a persistent failure to communicate such measures despite having received formal notice. Sending a reasoned opinion is the last step in the procedure before possibly taking a matter to the Court of Justice.

The EU rules

Directive 2009/18/EC lays down the basic principles governing investigations into accidents in the maritime transport sector. It requires Member States to bring into force the necessary legislative, regulatory and administrative implementing provisions before 17 June 2011.

The practical consequences of non-transposition

Directive 2009/18/EC aims to improve maritime safety and better prevent pollution from ships by requiring Member States to organise safety investigations after serious accidents at sea. The purpose of these investigations, which are separate from any criminal investigations and are carried out by independent bodies, is to establish what has caused the accidents and draw lessons to improve maritime safety in the future. If they fail to take the necessary measures, Member States prevent such arrangements from being set up.

Additional information:

MEMO/11/824

Contacts :

Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)

Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)


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