The European Commission has presented five legislative proposals aimed at modernizing EU rules on maritime safety and preventing ships from polluting water. The proposals align EU regulations with international rules and ensure a level playing field for the sector while enhancing implementation and enforcement through digitization and EU cooperation. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will work to enforce the new rules and support collaboration between flag states through its revised professional development and training program for flag state inspectors. The proposals also aim to prevent illegal discharge into Europe’s seas, detect violators and sanction unlawful activities.
The proposal package includes clear requirements for flag state inspections based on international regulations and specific EMSA training for national administrations to improve controls of Member State authorities over their fleets. Port State Control will cover additional international rules such as new conventions on ballast water and sediments and wreck removal. The scope of port state control and accident investigation will also be extended for fishing vessels, among other changes.
EMSA’s mandate will be updated to reflect the agency’s growing role in many areas of maritime transport, including safety, pollution prevention and environmental protection, climate change mitigation, security, surveillance and crisis management, and digitalisation. The Commission and Member States will need support from EMSA to implement the FuelEU Maritime Regulation and to extend the EU Emissions Trading Scheme to include maritime transport.
The proposals aim to prevent any kind of illegal discharge into Europe’s seas, including sewage, refuse and effluent and residues from exhaust gas cleaning systems. To achieve this, the EU will align and enhance regulations with international regulations, optimize CleanSeaNet and strengthen the legal framework for penalties and their application. As part of the Fit-for-55 package, the EU decided to extend the EU ETS to maritime transport and adopted the FuelEU Maritime Regulation. Clean technologies and fuels will also support the sustainability and zero pollution agenda.
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