Help Print this page 
Title and reference
EU sea safety: ship inspection and survey organisations

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

EU sea safety: ship inspection and survey organisations

The European Union (EU) has established a legal framework governing the relationships between EU countries and the recognised organisations* designated to carry out inspections, surveys and the certification of ships on their behalf.

ACT

Directive 2009/15/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations and for the relevant activities of maritime administrations.

SUMMARY

The European Union (EU) has established a legal framework governing the relationships between EU countries and the recognised organisations* designated to carry out inspections, surveys and the certification of ships on their behalf.

WHAT DOES THE DIRECTIVE DO?

It lays down the rules and conditions under which an EU country, as a flag state, may authorise a recognised organisation to perform statutory inspections and certifications on its behalf.

KEY POINTS

Authorisation of recognised organisations

EU countries must ensure their administrations implement the relevant international conventions* concerning the inspection and certification of ships flying their flag.

An EU country may authorise organisations to undertake fully or in part the inspections and surveys related to the issuing or renewal of ships’ statutory certificates*. It may entrust these duties only to recognised organisations.

Duties relating to the issue of cargo ship safety radio certificates may, however, be assigned to approved private bodies with sufficient expertise and qualified personnel.

An EU country must not refuse to authorise any recognised organisations. It may however decide to limit the number of organisations to be authorised on the basis of objective and non-discriminatory criteria.

Organisations located in non-EU countries can be recognised at EU level and subsequently authorised by EU countries’ administrations. In these cases, reciprocal authorisation arrangements may be requested.

Working relationships

When an EU country authorises a recognised organisation, it sets up a ‘working relationship’ with it. This is governed by an agreement, containing clauses relating to financial liability, the periodic audit of duties, random and detailed inspections of ships and the compulsory reporting of class-related information (a ship ‘class’ is a group of ships with the same design). Authorised organisations may be required to have local representation in the country concerned.

EU countries must inform the European Commission of the working relationships that they have established.

An EU country may suspend or withdraw a recognised organisation’s authorisation if it considers that the organisation no longer meets the conditions to fulfil its duties.

Monitoring

EU countries must ensure that recognised organisations acting on their behalf carry out their duties effectively. They should monitor them every 2 years and should inform EU countries and the Commission of the results of these monitoring activities.

When monitoring ships as a port state, an EU country must inform the Commission and other EU countries if:

a ship with a valid statutory certificate does not in fact fulfil the relevant requirements of international conventions;

a ship carrying a valid class certificate* is found deficient in regard to items covered by that certificate.

An EU country should only report cases of ships posing a serious threat to safety and the safety and the environment or where there is evidence of particularly negligent behaviour on the part of the recognised organisation. Organisations must be kept informed so that they may take the necessary corrective measures.

WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

From 17 June 2009.

BACKGROUND

This directive was adopted in parallel with Regulation (EC) No 391/2009 on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations. The 2 instruments repeal Directive 94/57/EC. The regulation creates a system of licensing at EU level which is a prerequisite for any organisation to be authorised by an EU country in the context of Directive 2009/15/EC.

KEY TERMS

* Recognised organisation: an organisation recognised in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 391/2009 on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations (see background).

* International conventions: the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea of 1 November 1974 (SOLAS 74) with the exception of Chapter XI-2 of the Annex thereto; the International Convention on Load Lines of 5 April 1966; the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of 2 November 1973 (MARPOL); together with the protocols and amendments thereto and the related codes of mandatory status in all EU countries, with the exception of paragraphs 16.1, 18.1 and 19 of part 2 of the IMO instruments implementation code, and of sections 1.1, 1.3, 3.9.3.1, 3.9.3.2 and 3.9.3.3 of part 2 of the IMO code for recognised organisations, in their up-to-date version.

* Statutory certificate: a certificate issued by or on behalf of a flag state in accordance with the international conventions.

* Class certificate: a certificate of the fitness of a ship for a particular use or service issued in accordance with the recognised organisation’s rules and procedures.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2009/15/EC

17.6.2009

17.6.2011

OJ L 131 of 28.5.2009, pp. 47-56

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2014/111/EU

21.12.2014

31.12.2015

OJ L 366 of 20.12.2014, pp. 83-87

RELATED ACTS

Regulation (EC) No 391/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations (Official Journal L 131 of 28.5.2009, pp. 11-23). Consolidated version.

Last updated: 06.08.2015

Top