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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 20 June 2013

Maritime safety: Commission refers Belgium to Court over rules on the investigation of maritime accidents

The European Commission decided to take Belgium to the Court of Justice for failing to fully implement the Directive on the investigation of maritime accidents. The Commission proposes a daily fine of € 55,265.28 to be paid from the date of the Court's affirmative ruling until Belgium notifies the Commission that it has fully implemented the rules into national law. These financial penalties are proposed by the Commission under the Lisbon Treaty and take into account the duration and the gravity of the infringement and the size of the Member State. The final decision on the penalties rests with the Court. The directive requires that Member States establish an impartial permanent investigative body, endowed with the necessary powers, and staffed by suitably qualified investigators, competent in matters relating to marine casualties and incidents.

Background

The Commission sent a letter of formal notice in July 2011 asking Belgium to communicate whether measures had been taken by the Flemish Region and the Brussels Capital Region to allow for the establishment of an accident investigation body, in particular to make adequate provision:

  • for the body to be informed of all accidents

  • to define the responsibilities of public authorities to cooperate with the investigators

A reasoned opinion followed in March 2012. To date the Belgian authorities have failed to notify the Commission of measures taken.

Full implementation by all Member States of maritime safety measures is essential to allow for the proper functioning of this important safety legislation. Given the importance of Belgian seaports in the European Union, maritime safety legislation is even more relevant and essential.

For more information:

More about the directive can be found on the European Maritime Safety Agency's website

On the June infringement package decisions, see MEMO/13/583

On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12

More information on infringement procedures

Contacts :

Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)

Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)


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