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New EU Proposals Target Safety and Pollution in Shipping

The European Commission has unveiled a set of five legislative proposals aimed at modernizing maritime safety rules and preventing pollution from ships.

With maritime transport accounting for 75% of the EU’s external trade, the proposals aim to ensure the safety of shipping while protecting the environment. 

The proposals focus on equipping the EU with new tools to support clean and modern shipping. They seek to align EU rules with international regulations, promote cooperation among member states, and enhance implementation and enforcement through digitalization. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will play a key role in implementing the new requirements and supporting member states in enforcing the rules.

Three of the proposals concentrate on modernizing maritime safety rules. They include clear requirements for flag State inspections, expansion of port State control to cover additional international rules, and extension of port State control and accident investigation to fishing vessels. The proposals also advocate for digitalization of flag State and port State control operations 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, extend the scope of covered polluting substances, optimize EMSA’s surveillance and information sharing database (CleanSeaNet), and establish a strengthened legal framework for penalties and their application.

The proposals also update EMSA’s mandate to reflect its growing role in various maritime transport areas, including safety, pollution prevention, climate action, security, surveillance, crisis management, and digitalization.

The next step for the proposals is their consideration by the European Parliament and the Council through the ordinary legislative procedure.

“Our high maritime safety standards have prevented major accidents in recent years. Yet we must not be complacent. We need to stay on top of new challenges and make best use of latest technologies,” said Adina V?lean, Commissioner for Transport. “Today’s package of proposals reflects latest global developments, ensures Member States are properly equipped to carry out inspections, drawing on EMSA’s expertise, and promotes digitalisation as a mean to increase efficiency and information sharing between administrations.”

These proposals align with the EU’s commitment to sustainable and smart mobility, as outlined in the EU Green Deal, the Smart and Sustainable Mobility Strategy, and the Zero Pollution Action Plan. They are part of the EU’s efforts to transition towards zero emissions, pollution, and accidents in the shipping sector, which includes extending the EU Emissions Trading System to maritime transport and adopting the FuelEU Maritime Regulation.



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