EU proposes modernization of maritime safety regulations.

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The European Commission has introduced five legislative proposals to enhance maritime safety regulations, prevent pollution from shipping, and support clean and modern shipping. These proposals aim to ensure secure navigation and protect the environment as maritime transport accounts for 75% of the EU’s external trade. The main objective is to align EU laws with international regulations, improve cooperation among member states, and promote digitalisation to enhance implementation and enforcement. The proposals also aim to prevent illegal discharges into European waters and prevent ship pollution while creating a more robust legal framework for penalties and their application.

Three of the proposals focus on modernising maritime safety rules, including clear requirements for flag state inspections, an extension of port state control, and accident investigation to fishing vessels. The proposals also support digitisation of control processes by flag and port states and the promotion of electronic certificates. The remaining proposals aim to tackle ship pollution and prevent illegal discharges into European waters. They align EU rules with international regulations, expand the scope of covered pollutants, streamline EMSA’s monitoring, and information-sharing database, and create a strengthened legal framework for penalties and their application.

These proposals are in line with the EU’s goal for sustainable and smart mobility and are part of the efforts to move towards zero emissions, pollution, and accidents in the shipping sector. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will play a crucial role in implementing the new requirements and supporting Member States in enforcing the rules. The proposals reflect the latest global developments, ensure that Member States are adequately equipped to carry out inspections, and promote digitisation as a means of increasing efficiency and information-sharing between administrations.

The proposals’ next step is their scrutiny by the European Parliament and the Council under the ordinary legislative procedure. Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vélean said, “Our high safety standards in maritime transport have prevented serious accidents in recent years.” She added that the latest challenges require keeping up with new technologies and making the best use of them. The proposals will help Member States keep up with the new challenges and ensure that the EU keeps up with the latest technologies.

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