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Safety rules and standards for passenger ships

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Safety rules and standards for passenger ships

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2009/45/EC: passenger ships’ safety rules and standards

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE DIRECTIVE DO?

It introduces uniform safety standards for people’s lives and property on passenger ships and high-speed craft such as hydrofoils used in domestic voyages in EU waters (i.e. between ports of the same EU country).

KEY POINTS

The legislation applies to passenger vessels made of steel or an equivalent material and to high-speed passenger craft.

Passenger vessels are divided into 4 classes (A, B, C and D) according to the sea areas they may operate in.

EU countries publish the list of sea areas and classes of vessel concerned, including any restricted periods, in a publicly available database.

The legislation sets out detailed technical requirements on safety measures vessels must respect, such as:

construction;

stability;

machinery;

electrics;

fire protection and life-saving.

National authorities may have additional safety requirements if they consider that specific local circumstances merit them.

Each passenger vessel registered in an EU country is inspected before it enters into service and thereafter at least once a year.

All passenger vessels that meet the safety standards are given an annual passenger ship safety certificate.

National authorities must apply penalties that are ‘effective, proportionate and dissuasive’ for any breach of the safety standards.

The legislation does not apply to certain types of vessels, such as:

warships;

primitive wooden ships;

original or replica historical passenger ships;

yachts with fewer than 12 passengers;

vessels used exclusively in ports.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It entered into force on 15 July 2009.

BACKGROUND

Vessels used for domestic voyages in EU waters must meet basic safety standards to protect the lives of their passengers and crew. These have been considerably strengthened since the ferry Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994.

Directive 2009/45/EC is the most extensive EU legislative instrument in the area of passenger vessel safety. It is complemented by specific EU rules for roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) passenger ships and high-speed craft, and the registration of persons on board.

ACT

Directive 2009/45/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on safety rules and standards for passenger ships (Recast)

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2009/45/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purposes only.

RELATED ACTS

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). See consolidated version.

Council Directive 1999/35/EC of 29 April 1999 on a system of mandatory surveys for the safe operation of regular ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft services (OJ L 138, 1.6.1999, pp. 1-19). See consolidated version.

last update 16.11.2015

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