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Registration of persons on board passenger ships

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Registration of persons on board passenger ships

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 98/41/EC on the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from EU ports

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE DIRECTIVE DO?

  • It seeks to improve the safety and possibilities of rescue of passengers and crew travelling by sea.
  • It aims to ensure the number of persons on board does not exceed the number for which the ship has been certified, and to facilitate search and rescue activities following an accident.

KEY POINTS

Number of persons on board

  • All persons on board passenger ships departing from a port located within the EU must be counted prior to departure of the ship.
  • The number of persons on board must be communicated to the master of the ship and to the company’s designated passenger registrar, or to a shore-based company system performing the same role.
  • Before a passenger ship departs, its master must ensure that the number of persons on board does not exceed the number the ship is permitted to carry.

Additional information on persons on board

Where a passenger ship departs from an EU port on a voyage of more than 20 nautical miles (EU countries may lower this threshold), certain information on all persons on board must be collected and communicated to the company’s passenger registrar or to a shore-based company system performing the same role within 30 minutes of the ship’s departure. This information includes:

  • first name and surname
  • sex
  • age
  • any information provided concerning the need for special care or assistance (when this information has been volunteered by a passenger).

Counting of and registering information on persons on board is also required in respect of ships which depart from a port located outside the EU but which are bound for an EU port, regardless of whether the ships are flying the flag of an EU or a non-EU country.

EU countries may grant exemptions or request derogations in accordance with the International Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea (1974 SOLAS Convention), but only under the conditions laid down in this directive.

Each company responsible for operating a passenger ship must:

  • set up a system for the registration of information on persons on board. The system must meet the following criteria:
    • readability
    • availability
    • facilitation (the system must not cause undue delay for passengers embarking and/or disembarking)
    • and security (protection of data against destruction, loss and unauthorised access);
  • appoint a passenger registrar responsible for keeping and transmitting the information.

Directive 2009/42/EC sets out how EU countries should compile statistics on sea passengers calling at EU ports.

Exemptions or derogations

EU countries may grant certain exemptions or request derogations concerning passenger counting and registration for:

  • ships operating exclusively in protected sea areas;
  • regular services of less than one hour between port calls;
  • regular services in an area where the probability of wave height exceeding 2 metres is less than 10 % and — either the entire voyage is less than 30 miles from departure — or a public service obligation exists for outlying communities.

Registration systems

The registration systems set up in accordance with this directive must be approved by EU countries, which are responsible for checking that they function correctly.

WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY FROM?

It entered into force on 22 July 1998. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 1 January 1999.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see ‘Safety of passenger ships’ on the European Commission's website.

ACT

Council Directive 98/41/EC of 18 June 1998 on the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from ports of the Member States of the Community (OJ L 188, 2.7.1998, pp. 35-39)

Successive amendments to Directive 98/41/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 18.04.2016

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