Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
Maritime safety: ship inspection and survey organisations

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

This summary is archived.
Languages and formats available
HTML html ES html DE html EN html FR
Multilingual display
Miscellaneous information
  • Archived: true

Maritime safety: ship inspection and survey organisations

In order to ensure effective implementation of the international conventions on safety at sea, the European Council has set out the measures to be taken by Member States and organisations involved in ship inspection, survey and certification. Those measures focus, in particular, on drawing up and implementing safety requirements for a ship’s hull, machinery and electrical and control installations.


Council Directive 94/57/EC of 22 November 1994 on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations and for the relevant activities of maritime administrations [See amending acts].


Safety at sea and the prevention of marine pollution can be enhanced by the effective implementation of international conventions, resolutions and codes. Member States must therefore ensure that their competent administrations can guarantee that the international provisions are strictly enforced.

Member States must make sure that they entrust the inspection, survey and certification of ships to recognised organisations only. For the cargo ship safety radio certificate, those duties may be entrusted to a private body recognised by a competent administration. The criteria to be met by such organisations are set out in an Annex to the Directive.

Member States may request reciprocal recognition if one of the above-mentioned duties is entrusted to an organisation recognised in a non-Community country. If those duties are delegated to recognised organisations, a working relationship must be established between the relevant national authorities and the recognised organisations. That working relationship should be regulated by an official agreement setting out the specific duties and functions that the organisations are to perform.

The Commission is assisted by the Committee on Safe Seas and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (COSS), which adopts its own rules of procedure.

Member States may withdraw or suspend recognition of an organisation. The various stages of the procedure for suspending recognition are set out in Article 10 of the Directive.

Member States are required to monitor recognised organisations or, for organisations located in another Member State, to review the control exercised over those organisations by the authorities in the other Member States. They are also required to ensure that ships flying the flag of a non‑Community country do not receive more favourable treatment than ships entitled to fly the flag of a Member State.

The procedures for recognising organisations, updating the recognition criteria and suspending or withdrawing recognition are set out in the Directive.

Every Member State is required to ensure that vessels flying its flag are constructed and maintained in accordance with the requirements for the hull, machinery and electrical and control installations, as laid down by a recognised organisation.

For their part, the recognised organisations must consult with each other periodically with a view to ensuring that their technical standards and the way in which they are implemented remain equivalent. Furthermore, they are to provide the Commission with periodic reports on progress made with regard to standards.


This Directive forms part of the Erika I package and is designed to reinforce and harmonise the Community arrangements regarding recognised organisations, while simplifying the monitoring and reporting obligations placed on Member States. It falls to the Community to grant such organisations recognition, monitor them and, where appropriate, suspend that recognition, while Member States retain the power to designate recognised organisations to inspect their fleet.

The Directive stipulates that classification societies must not be controlled by shipowners, shipbuilders or any others engaged commercially in manufacturing, equipping, repairing or operating ships.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 94/57/EC

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 97/58/EC



OJ L 274, 7.10.1997

Directive 2001/105/EC



OJ L 19, 22.1.2002

Directive 2002/84/EC



OJ L 324, 29.11.2002


Commission Regulation (EC) No 324/2008 of 9 April 2008 laying down revised procedures for conducting Commission inspections in the field of maritime security [Official Journal L 98 of 10 April 2008].

Directive 2002/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 November 2002 amending the Directives on maritime safety and the prevention of pollution from ships [Official Journal L 324 of 29 November 2002]. This Directive is designed to improve implementation of the Community legislation governing maritime safety, the prevention of pollution from ships and the living and working conditions on board ship. It is closely linked to the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 2099/2002 establishing a Committee on Safe Seas and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (COSS) and amending the Regulations on maritime safety and the prevention of pollution from ships.

Last updated: 06.05.2008