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EU maritime information and exchange system

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EU maritime information and exchange system

This European Union (EU) law sets up a vessel traffic monitoring and information exchange system. This seeks to enhance maritime safety, port and maritime security, environmental protection and pollution preparedness. It also permits the exchange and sharing of additional information facilitating efficient maritime traffic and transport.

ACT

Directive 2002/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2002 establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system and repealing Council Directive 93/75/EEC.

SUMMARY

This European Union (EU) law sets up a vessel traffic monitoring and information exchange system. This seeks to enhance maritime safety, port and maritime security, environmental protection and pollution preparedness. It also permits the exchange and sharing of additional information facilitating efficient maritime traffic and transport.

WHAT DOES THE DIRECTIVE DO?

It sets up a system to monitor Europe’s waters and coasts - maritime surveillance and situational awareness (ship positions) - supporting EU countries in their operational tasks.

To improve situational awareness in the maritime domain and to provide tailor-made solutions to authorities, the law was amended by Commission Directive 2014/100/EU. This allows for the information gathered and exchanged using the EU’s maritime information and exchange system (SafeSeaNet (SSN)) to be integrated with data from the EU’s other monitoring and tracking systems, such as CleanSeaNet, and from external systems (e.g. satellite automatic identification systems (AISs)).

It lays down the responsibilities of EU countries, maritime authorities, shippers, shipping operators and masters of ships.

KEY POINTS

All ships of 300 gross tonnes and upwards are covered, whether or not they carry dangerous goods, except for:

warships;

fishing vessels, traditional ships and recreational craft less than 45 metres in length;

bunkers below 1 000 tonnes.

Requirements on operators of ships bound for EU ports

They must notify certain information (ship identification, total number of persons on board, port of destination, estimated time of arrival, etc.) to the maritime national single window (since 1 June 2015).

Equipment and installations

Ships calling at a port of an EU country must be fitted with:

an automatic identification system; and

a voyage data recorder (VDR) system (‘black box’) to facilitate investigations following accidents;

EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries must have AIS receivers and must link the national single windows/national SSN with the central SSN system.

Dangerous or polluting goods onboard ships

prior to taking such goods on board, shippers must declare these to the operator;

the operator, agent or master of a ship must also notify general information, such as the ship identification and the information provided by the shipper, to the competent authority.

Monitoring of hazardous ships and intervention in the event of incidents and accidents

Authorities must inform the EU countries concerned if they are notified of ships that have:

previously been involved in incidents or accidents at sea;

failed to comply with notification and reporting requirements;

deliberately discharged pollutants; or

been refused access to ports.

The master of a ship must immediately report:

any incident or accident affecting the safety of the ship;

any incident or accident compromising shipping safety;

any situation liable to lead to pollution of the waters or shore of an EU country;

any slick of polluting materials and containers or packages seen drifting at sea.

Places of refuge

All EU/EEA countries have to draw up plans to accommodate ships in need of assistance in places of refuge. They must also meet regularly to exchange experience and take joint improvement measures.

Compliance

EU countries must check the operation of their information systems and introduce a system of financial penalties to act as a deterrent against failure to comply with the directive’s requirements.

Management

The system is developed and managed by the European Commission and the EU/EEA countries. The European Maritime Safety Agency is responsible for its technical operation.

BACKGROUND

This directive is an integral part of the EU’s maritime safety policy. Besides their role in maintaining safety, security and sustainability, the system and platform are central to creating a single European maritime area without barriers - the European Maritime Transport Space.

More information is available from:

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for implementation in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2002/59/EC

5.8.2002

5.2.2004

OJ L 208 of 5.8.2002, pp. 10-27

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2009/17/EC

31.5.2009

31.11.2010

OJ L 131 of 28.5.2009, pp. 101-113

Commission Directive 2011/15/EU

16.3.2011

16.3.2012

OJ L 49 of 24.2.2011, pp. 33-36

Commission Directive 2014/100/EU

18.11.2014

18.11.2015

OJ L 308 of 29.10.2014, pp. 82-87

Last updated: 23.04.2015

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