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Maritime Safety: Commission takes Poland to Court

European Commission - IP/12/643   21/06/2012

Other available languages: FR DE PL

European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 21 June 2012

Maritime Safety: Commission takes Poland to Court

The European Commission has today decided to refer Poland to the EU Court of Justice for failing to communicate what measures were being taken to organise safety investigations after serious accidents at sea1. The purpose of these investigations is to establish what has caused the accidents and draw lessons to improve maritime safety in the future. By failing to put in place an independent body to carry out these investigations, Poland is slowing down possible maritime safety improvements.

The EU rules

The EU rules aim to improve maritime safety and better prevent pollution from ships by requiring Member States to organise safety investigations after serious accidents at sea. They lay down the basic principles governing investigations into accidents including the establishment of an independent body to carry out such investigations in the maritime transport sector and required Member States to bring these into force before 17 June 2011.

The practical consequences of non-transposition

The purpose of these investigations, which are separate from any criminal investigations and should be 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 possible improvements in the future and slow down progress across the EU in this important area.

The next steps

Referral to the Court of Justice is the normal procedure in the event of a persistent failure on the part of a Member State to communicate measures, despite a formal notice and reasoned opinion.

For more information please see:

MEMO/11/824

IP/11/1411

MEMO/12/464

Contacts :

Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)

Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)

1 :

Directive 2009/18/EC on the investigation of accidents at sea


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