The European Commission has put forward five legislative proposals to update maritime safety and prevent pollution. The changes will harmonize EU rules with international regulations, as 75% of the bloc’s external trade is conducted by sea. Although maritime safety in EU waters is high, there are still over 2,000 incidents reported annually. The proposals will focus on preventing such accidents, regulating flag state inspections, strengthening port state control, and investigating marine casualties.
The proposed measures will extend to fishing vessels, with applying to those over 24 meters calling at EU ports. Member States will report the most significant accidents involving smaller fishing vessels. EMSA, the European Maritime Safety Agency, will support the implementation of the new rules. As part of the digitization of the sector, control processes will be enhanced among flag and port states, and electronic certificates will be promoted. The measures also aim to prevent illegal discharges into Europe’s waters, with enhanced regulation proposed for discharges of pollutants. Further changes will be made to EMSA’s mandate to reflect the agency’s growing role in maritime activities.