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Document 52003DC0229

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on enhancing maritime transport security

/* COM/2003/0229 final */


Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on enhancing maritime transport security /* COM/2003/0229 final */


(presented by the Commission)

1. Introduction

Recent events have shown that no country in the world is immune from terrorism. Whatever the reasons behind them, acts of terrorism can be committed at any time and in any place. Shipping is no exception.

This issue is, alas, nothing new for the European Union, and many of the Member States have taken steps to protect their citizens and modes of transport. The Commission, for its part, has already addressed the subject of cruise passenger security in Europe in the Transport White Paper [1]. It considers that, in future, there is a need to enhance the security of the entire maritime transport logistics chain from the supplier to the consumer. Consequently, since the security of a transport chain depends upon its weakest link, an approach addressing the multimodal dimension in parallel will make it possible to improve the security of transport as a whole.

[1] COM(2001) 370 of 12 September 2001.

In addition, the Communication "Towards integrated management of the external borders of the Member States of the European Union" [2] proposes working and cooperation mechanisms at EU level to enable practitioners of checks at the external borders to coordinate their operational actions in the framework of an integrated strategy which takes into account the multiplicity of aspects involved. The Communication is focused on persons and relies upon the Schengen acquis. It will be followed by a second Communication centred on all types of goods and merchandise.

[2] COM(2002) 233 final of 7 May 2002.

Initially, this communication addresses the purely maritime dimension of this chain.

1.1. Overview of potential threats

Any ship can be deliberately used as a weapon or be a carrier of weapons of mass destruction, or even the innocent carrier of inappropriate cargo, unless appropriate security and control measures are taken. Terrorist acts against a ship are possible, in particular by using another boat or from inside the ship by stowaways or terrorists who board the ship by force. Passenger vessels are particular targets because of the number of lives which can be immediately put in danger. Freight vessels are no less vulnerable and can be dangerous carriers. The very nature of cargoes or hazardous substances could prompt terrorists to attempt to blow up such vessels, e.g. in port areas, with horrendous human and environmental consequences. Moreover, the illicit transport of nuclear, bacteriological or chemical products by sea cannot be ruled out, for subsequent use against the country of destination of the cargo.

1.2. Maritime transport's share of the European Union's economic exchanges

Maritime transport is vital for the Community's economic and commercial vigour, as the following figures demonstrate. It is therefore essential to enhance maritime security in order to maintain or even develop maritime transport and operators' confidence in it. The efforts that will be needed in order to raise the level of security of ships and of Community ports must be seen in the light of the size of the fleet and the importance of maritime trade for the EU's economy, as indicated in Sections 1.3 and 1.4 below.

In terms of total value, the EU's exports in 2001 represented some EUR 981 billion and imports EUR 1 027 billion [3]. In fact, the EU is the main trading partner of two-thirds of the planet. Keeping the markets - and borders - open is clearly one of the main objectives of the EU's commercial policy.

[3] Source : European Commission, DG TRADE.

The EU's maritime logistics system, including sea-borne freight transport, ports and port handling services, accounts for over two-thirds of the total trade between the Community and the rest of the world. It is therefore important that maritime transport security should be enhanced, and its competitiveness maintained, while facilitating trade.

1.3. The EU fleet and the fleet controlled by the EU

The market share of the fleet controlled by European shipowners has stayed at around 34% of the world tonnage for the last ten years.

This fleet [4] consists of some 8 800 ships, of which 1 966 oil tankers, 1 702 bulk carriers, 1 104 container carriers, 3 428 general cargo ships (conventional cargo ships and roll-on/roll-off ships) and 685 passenger ships. In terms of volume, it represents a transport capacity of over 257 million tonnes, including over 3.15 million TEUs (containers). In terms of tonnage, 67% of this fleet is registered outside the EU: it will come as no surprise that a sizeable proportion of ships registered under the flag of Panama, Liberia, the Bahamas, Cyprus and Malta is controlled by EU shipowners and operators. The fleet registered under the flags of the EU Member States represents 13% of total world tonnage, i.e. some 102 million tonnes, and comprises over 4 200 ships. It employs 180 000 seafarers, of whom around 40% are third country nationals.

[4] Figures as 1 January 2001, ships of 1000 gross tonnage and above - Source: Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics, Shipping Statistics 2001.

1.4. Community ports

The EU has 35 000 km of coastline and hundreds of seaports. Every year some 2 billion tonnes of general cargo, products needed for the European economy and trade with other regions of the globe (oil and gas - solid fuel and ore - manufactured products) pass through European ports every year. 90% of all oil trade with the EU is sea-borne, while almost 70% of EU imports pass the shores of Brittany and the English Channel. The volume of operations (in millions of tonnes/km) for EU ports in 1999 was as follows:


Table 1. Estimated volume of operations in EU ports by region in 1999, in millions of tonnes/km - DG TREN

The 25 main European ports are listed in Annex 1 which indicates the volume of traffic and the percentage change in the number of tonnes over the period 1996-2000. Note should be taken of the heterogeneous nature of port services and the diversity of ports included in this list (in terms of status, ownership, size, function, and geographical characteristics).

It is scarcely possible to establish a strict typology of ports. While there are a number of ports specialising in a particular type of merchandise, e.g. the oil and chemical industries, the motor vehicle industry, or ferry services, most ports handle all activities, including in the port area.

The growth in maritime transport is based on the use of containers, increasingly large ships, specialised port terminals and the organisation of "multi-spring" shuttle services. Since the early 1990s a growing number of new ports, known as "transhipment hubs" have appeared on the scene in each of the abovementioned maritime regions.

* * *

The Community's special vocation for maritime trade and the latter's importance for the strength of our economy undoubtedly plead in favour of enhancing maritime security worldwide and within the EU in particular, in the face of a security situation which is uncertain, to say the least, with regard to terrorist.

2. International awareness of the imperative need to enhance maritime transport security

This has recently resulted in more and more work and initiatives both within international forums and organisations and at regional level.

2.1. Within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

Work on maritime security began within the IMO in February 2002, culminating on 12 December 2002 at the IMO Diplomatic Conference with the adoption of an amendment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention) and an International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS).

Hitherto, the SOLAS Convention only addressed aspects relating to the security of maritime transport. The purpose of amending it and adopting the ISPS Code is to take into account maritime transport issues in connection with ships and port facilities [5].

[5] Port facilities being defined as locations where the ship/port interface takes place.

The amendment of the SOLAS Convention and Part A of the ISPS Code consist entirely of mandatory provisions; Part B of the ISPS Code is made up of recommendations which Contracting Governments are requested to implement.

These provisions apply to passenger ships, cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards, mobile offshore drilling units and port facilities serving international traffic.

The mandatory provisions are indispensable to the improvement of maritime security. They concern a requirement for ships to be permanently marked with their identification number fitted with an automatic identification system (AIS) and a ship security alert system for spreading the alarm in the event of hostile action against the ship, and to be issued with a continuous synopsis record (CSR), a kind of identify document recording the history of the ship.

They also provide for a set of active and passive security measures based on three security levels (normal, increased, high), their implementation being linked to a risk assessment. They include the requirement to appoint people responsible for carrying out the security measures (ship, company and port facility security officers), to prepare security plans taking account of the risk assessment (ship and port facility) and to issue an international ship security certificate, as well as arrangements for personnel training and exercises.

Provision is also made, depending on the potential risk to persons, property and environment, for the possibility of drawing up a declaration of security between the ship and the host port facility to define the responsibilities of each. Another possibility is that a ship in port or about to enter port can be inspected by the Port State authorities for security reasons. In addition, the responsibilities and obligations of the various players (Contracting Governments, companies, ships' masters and port facilities) are clearly defined.

Part B of the ISPS Code is made up of a set of very detailed recommendations intended as guidance for the various players concerning the implementation of the mandatory provisions. Contracting Governments are required, in particular, to designate recognised security organisations (responsible for providing security services for port facilities and ships) and national or regional maritime security contact points, to manage the security levels, and to exchange information on security matters. This part of the ISPS Code also contains detailed proposals for both ships and port facilities, regarding risk assessment and the security plans to be prepared as well as personal training and exercises. It also indicates how and in which cases a declaration of security should be drawn up between the ship and the host port facility.

2.2. Within the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

Seafarers are directly involved in the international carriage of goods (including hazardous materials) and passengers, and they have access to all areas of ports, including those to which access is restricted.

The special nature of seafarers' living and working conditions has prompted the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to adopt a wide range of Conventions and Recommendations applying specifically to them. In January 2001, it decided to convene in 2005 a maritime session of the International Labour Conference with a view to adopting a single instrument bringing together as far as possible all the maritime standards contained in the fifty or so Conventions and Recommendations in force.

More specifically, however, in March 2002, an urgent item concerning improved security of seafarers' identification was placed on the agenda of the 91st session of the International Labour Conference scheduled for June 2003 with a view to revising Convention No 108, the Seafarers' Identity Documents Convention, 1958.

The identification of seafarers, which comes within the sphere of competence of the ILO, is in fact one of the issues considered crucial by the International Maritime Organisation for improving maritime security.

Seafarers should have documents enabling their positive and verifiable identification - "positive" meaning that the document holder is the person to whom the document was issued and "verifiable" implying the validation of the authenticity of the document by reference to a source.

2.3. Within the World Customs Organisation (WCO)

In June 2002 the WCO adopted a Resolution on Security and Facilitation of the International Trade Supply Chain. A Task Force organised around five priority topics [6] was set up within its Secretariat-General in order to define implementing measures and protect international trade against terrorist attacks and the international logistics chain against being used for the illegal transport of weapons of mass destruction for terrorist purposes.

[6] Legal and procedural questions, commercial affairs and relations with other organisations, development of capabilities, implementation and intelligence, and promotion, respectively.

The results expected from this work are as follows:

- Development of a needs assessment tool to assist the customs authorities in the establishment of supply chain security regimes;

- Access for the customs authorities to a WCO database on technical verifications and detection equipment;

- Review of the 1972 WCO containers convention;

- More specifically with regard to the abovementioned Task Force, by June 2003:

- Review of the WCO data model to include the main elements necessary for the customs to detect high-risk consignments;

- Development of guidelines to enable WCO members to adopt a legal basis for the gathering, transmission and exchange of customs data, while respecting confidentiality;

- Developing guidelines to encourage cooperation between customs and industry to increase supply chain security and facilitate the flow of international trade.

2.4. Within G8

The Kananaskis Summit (26 and 27 June 2002) addressed the subject both in terms of maritime security in general and in terms of the particular case of containers.

Accordingly, the G8 members agreed on a set of cooperative actions to promote greater transport security while facilitating trade. G8 will:

- Maritime security

Support, within the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), amendment of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention) in order to:

- advance the date of the installation of automatic detection systems (AIS) on certain ships to December 2004,

- require mandatory ship security plans and ship security officers on board ships by July 2004,

- require mandatory port facility security plans and port facility security assessments for port serving ships engaged on international voyages by July 2004.

- Container safety

- Work expeditiously, in cooperation with relevant international organisations, to develop and implement a improved global container security regime to identify and examine high-risk containers and ensure their in-transit integrity.

- Develop, in collaboration with interested non-G8 countries, pilot projects that model an integrated container security regime.

- Implement expeditiously, by 2005 wherever possible, common standards for electronic customs reporting, and work within the WCO to encourage the implementation of the same common standards by non-G8 countries.

- Begin work expeditiously within the G8 and the WCO to require advance electronic information pertaining to containers, including their location and transit, as early as possible in the trade chain.

Lastly, G8 members agreed to develop, within the United Nations and other relevant international organisations, an effective and proportionate security regime for the overland transportation and distribution of hazardous cargoes which potentially significant security risks.

Progress will be reviewed by the G8 every six months.

2.5. American security initiatives

Following the events of 11 September 2001, the USA introduced unilateral protection measures, often anticipating the implementation of provisions being negotiated in international bodies. In the maritime sphere in particular, security is regarded as a domestic matter.

There have been many parliamentary initiatives, resulting in the adoption by Congress on 14 November 2002 of the Maritime Security Act of 2002 (S.1214). This measure, when fully implemented, will impose broad security requirements on the maritime industry.

In addition, the creation of a Department of Homeland Security, effective since 1 March 2003, bringing together over twenty government bodies operating in this field means that the various authorities at present concerned by security issues are even more actively involved.

In this context, three types of recent measures concerning the maritime sector should be mentioned.

The Container Security Initiative: In mid-2002 the US launched the Container Security Initiative (CSI) aimed initially at 20 ports [7] in Europe and Asia where the biggest proportion of maritime container trade to the US is concentrated.

[7] Algeciras, Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Busan, Felixstowe, Genoa, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Kobe, La Spezia, Laem Chabang, Le Havre, Nagoya, Rotterdam, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Tokyo, Yokohama.

This initiative, implemented with the help of squads of customs observers, consists in:

- Establishing security criteria to identify high-risk containers;

- Pre-screening containers before they arrive at US ports;

- Using technology to pre-screen high-risk containers; and

- Developing and using smart and secure containers.

The US Customs Service has succeeded in persuading the competent authorities of the Member States, and most of the Asian countries concerned, to join in with this initiative [8]. Other ports have also joined the CSI [9]. Unfortunately, the provisions were drawn up and implemented without regard for Community law, and without consulting the Commission which has reacted in accordance with the Treaty establishing the European Community.

[8] As of 13 February 2003 the only ports in the above list for which agreements had not yet been signed were Kaohsiung (Taiwan) and Laem Chabang (Thailand).

[9] As of 13 February 2003 agreements have been concluded for Gothenburg (Sweden), Klang and Tanjung Pelepas (Malaysia).

The 24-hour rule: In August 2002 the US Customs Service announced an amendment to the US customs regulations to require that US customs must in future receive cargo manifest information from carriers 24 hours before cargoes bound for the US are loaded on board ships leaving from a foreign port. This information is allegedly needed to enable the US Customs to assess the possible risk of terrorist threat represented by containers bound for the US. This new rule took effect on 2 December 2002 and has been put into practice since 2 February 2003.

The proposed rule making for the elimination of crew list visas : The rule making proposed by the US State Department provides for the elimination of crew list visas for crew members on foreign ships making port calls in the US. Until now the provision of crew list visas for crew members was considered to be a common acceptable practice, despite the fact that the US is one of the few major maritime countries requiring crew visas at all.

2.6. Action by the Community

Maritime security has been a matter of concern for the Commission since well before 11 September 2001, as proved by the Transport White Paper which already referred to the need to enhance the security of cruise ship passengers in Europe.

That is why the Commission's Services have unreservedly supported the initiative of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to address maritime security.

The EU needs global solutions with regard to security in a global economic context. That is why the Commission encourages and supports any work at international level which will produce tangible and rapid results. Consequently, the dialogue within the IMO and other international forums (G7/G8, ILO, WCO), and with partners sharing the same concerns, must be continued. To this end, the Commission has chosen a multidisciplinary approach (transport, customs, immigration, trade, international policy, ...) at meetings with international partners, including the US, and during the necessary coordination with the Member States in connection with work relating to maritime security within international organisations (IMO, ILO, WCO). In this respect, the Commission has made a considerable contribution towards coordinating the Member States' positions within the IMO. The Member States have responded positively to this by proposing several joint texts designed to obtain maritime security provisions culminating in realistic, effective and enforceable texts.

The Commission will, however, resist any unilateral measure which might not only affect international trade but also be incomplete, or run counter to the objectives with regard to security, which necessitate global solutions.

In this connection, the idea that it is possible to combat the risk effectively by addressing the problem solely in the main ports and only with regard to container transport should be treated with caution. Similarly, the abovementioned 24-hour rule that was suddenly imposed is risky even if it will help the transparency that is required for security, etc., since it does not address the fate of the very containers which it is designed to protect within the 24-hour period and it constitutes a threat to small operators which will have neither the time nor the resources to adapt to it economically.

Faced with this situation, and the individual responses of the Member States to the American demands, on 18 March 2003 the Commission was authorised by the Council to negotiate on matters within the Community's sphere of competence in order to reach an agreement between the Community and the US customs authorities concerning the development of an export control system which takes account of the need for security in international container-based trade. This agreement is intended to replace the bilateral arrangements that have been concluded between certain Member States and the US Customs Service. It will be based on the principles of reciprocity and non-discrimination which apply to all trade between the Community and the US. Ultimately, this agreement should allow joint monitoring of the implementation of measures developed by common agreement. This cooperation will, of course, be open to all our other international partners. In this context, it should be noted that the Community has launched a project to computerise customs export checks, in particular where the Community export and exit points are located in two different Member States.

Lastly, the Commission cannot allow maritime security to become a factor making for unfair competition between ports, especially within the Community. Joint security standards and joint customs inspection criteria are needed for integrated border management. As indicated in the introduction, a security chain is as secure as its weakest link. Accordingly, the inspections must be carried out by all the parties, and disturb as little as possible or even improve the present level of efficiency of world trade. The question of reciprocity is therefore equally important, since the security of the EU is also at issue, and the risk may come from any place of origin, be it the US or another third country. The Commission must therefore ensure that third country ships wishing to call at its ports operate to adequate security standards. This is one of the objectives of the proposal for a Regulation presented along with this communication.

It should be noted that the Economic and Social Committee's exploratory opinion on the security of transport (CES 1156/2002), delivered at its plenary session of 23 and 24 October 2002 supports the Commission's analysis with regard to both the nature of the subject and the solutions to it.

In addition, the Commission's Services have launched a study to assess the consequences of enhancing maritime security. Other work is in progress in the context of a multidisciplinary Commission approach to security -related aspects in particular concerning, with regard to customs matters, the security of the external borders. In addition, the Council has asked the Commission to carry out a feasibility study concerning controls at maritime borders aimed at the improvement of checks and surveillance at maritime borders, in particular with a view to combating illegal immigration by sea. Clearly, the measures envisaged need to be examined in the light of the multisectoral context (security aspects, safety of ships and passengers, and tax, commercial and health aspects).

The abovementioned Communication COM(2002) 233 also contains a proposal referred to as PROSECUR, a procedure which, depending on the nature of the information and the risks identified, would establish direct links and exchanges between the port and customs authorities and the authorities responsible for checking persons at the external borders.

In the framework of the plan for the management of the external borders (implementing many of the proposals contained in COM(2002) 233), work is under way to develop a common risk analysis model. Although originally intended for the management of the external borders, this model might contribute to the development of similar models to enhance maritime security (and vice versa).

3. Maritime security : A challenge regarding efficiency, coherence and mutual recognition

Taking security into account in maritime transport must not result in a proliferation of disproportionate and unreasonably expensive measures, based on leap-frogging which might have more to do with "spin" than efficiency.

That is why it must be based on a realistic risk analysis which should be regularly reassessed with a view to the adoption of the requisite security measures with regard to the international environment, while keeping the resulting costs under control. Any security scheme entails permanent measures, such as the drawing-up of plans, the designation of the responsible authorities and the installation of certain technologies, but also includes variable provisions only implemented in the context of sound risk management when the situation so justifies. Often these additional measures take up the greatest amounts of resources of all kinds, and their use should therefore be properly justified. This approach characterises the measures adopted by the International Maritime Organisation.

Moreover, security must be built in at all stages of maritime transport operations. Even though it has not so far been a major concern, it must become a way of thinking underlying all action in a realistic and hence unexaggerated way. By way of an example, it is clear that, in the biggest ports in the Community in particular where there is a steady flow of containers, not all containers can be inspected even using x-ray equipment (scanners). On the other hand, it seems equally inconceivable to accept that in future the content of these containers should be described as "said to contain...". Greater clarity and greater transparency are therefore now called for at all stages in the logistics chain. Advances in technology and organisational efforts, as well as the allocation of responsibility, should make a contribution to this. That is the price that will have to be paid in order to ensure the security of transport and the smooth flow of international trade.

It is also important to stress that the measures to be introduced to enhance maritime transport security will not simply represent an additional cost. They will also undoubtedly have beneficial effects in terms of the protection of port and marine professionals, and passengers as well, and the security of strategic supplies, and also indirect repercussions in terms of the action to combat all forms of trafficking, and concerning taxation and the secure routing of freight transported. These measures will have a dissuasive effect as a result of the checks carried out and will facilitate action to stamp out illicit trafficking and fraud [10]. Lastly, the new level of transparency of operations will undoubtedly make it possible to organise them better and programme them over time for the benefit of all efficient and honest operators.

[10] By way of an example, while the installation of container scanners in the Port of Rotterdam cost EUR15 million, in one year their use generated EUR88 million in customs and tax revenue, even though only 2% of containers, on average, are subjected to such checks.

3.1. The implementation of security measures relating to maritime operations

The measures in question were adopted on 12 December 2002 at the Diplomatic Conference of the International Maritime Organisation. They relate to ships, shipping companies and port facilities. The security measures should be implemented as rapidly as possible and at all events be effective as of 1 July 2004. It is important that the Community, whose Member States are parties to the amendment to the SOLAS Convention and to the ISPS Code, should play a driving role and apply the provisions adopted at the IMO without fail.

3.1.1. International maritime transport

This is the field of application of the abovementioned measures. The prevention and countering of acts of terrorism against maritime transport therefore call for security measures the implementation of which is primarily the responsibility of the Contracting Governments. Nevertheless, it is important to ensure their uniform application within the Community in order to maintain the level of quality and efficiency of our international trade and avoid unfair competition between ports.

The effective implementation of maritime security measures calls for intense preparation on the part of the various parties (shipping companies, port authorities) and also the Contracting Governments which have vital responsibilities. Without going over in detail once again the measures described in Section 2.1 above, it is important to emphasise that the Governments will need to put in place a large number of measures by June 2004. In particular, they will need to establish the rules defining the three levels of security and the conditions governing their implementation, approve the security assessments to be carried out on port facilities, draw up the list of port facilities which will need to designate a security officer and prepare a security plan, validate the security plan and the ship security plans for ships within their jurisdiction, issue security certificates to those ships and define the checking measures that will need to be organised.

The shipping companies, for their part, must, in particular, designate their security officers and security officers for their ships, conduct the ship security assessments, draw up ship security plans, and fit ships with the technical means (AIS, alarm spreading devices, marking) provided for in the new IMO provisions.

The Commission stresses that it also intends to support technological research and the promotion of satellite radionavigation applications (GALILEO and GPS) which, combined with an efficient radio-telecommunication policy, will make it possible not only to enhance security but also safety, navigation and management in this area.


However, the amendment of the SOLAS Convention and Part A of the ISPS Code consist entirely of mandatory provisions, some of which are, however, open to interpretation and adaptation; Part B of the ISPS Code is made up of recommendations which Contracting Governments are requested to implement.

The Commission therefore thinks it essential to provide a basis for harmonised interpretation and implementation, as well as Community monitoring of the provisions, in order to put the Member States in the best possible position to implement them in time; and to ensure equal conditions, throughout the EU, with regard to access to and monitoring of markets and activities related to the maritime sector.

For the same reasons, the Commission thinks it essential to make mandatory some of the recommendations of Part B of the ISPS Code in order, on the one hand, to raise the level of security sought and, on the other, to avoid differences of interpretation from one Member State to another.

Lastly, it should be noted that some of the provisions of the December 2002 amendment of the SOLAS Convention have a bearing on instruments already incorporated into Community legislation. The provisions in question concern the automatic ship identification system (AIS), the ship identification number and the continuous synopsis record (CRS) for ships.

3.1.2. Special cases: intra-Community maritime traffic and ports occasionally involved in international maritime transport

One of the fundamental principles of Community transport policy is to encourage modal diversification in order to avoid congestion or even saturation of certain modes of transport (in particular road transport). Accordingly, maritime transport between Member States and within individual Member States is particularly important. The flexibility which it offers should therefore be maintained.

To this end, the Commission considers that the alternative security provisions contained in the amendment to the SOLAS Convention should be applied to intra-Community maritime transport. It therefore urges the Member States to conclude with each other bilateral or multilateral agreements provided for in the amendment to the SOLAS Convention [11], and in particular those needed for the promotion of scheduled intra-Community short-sea shipping. However, where use is made of this possible within the Community, a clear distinction should be made between port facilities serving intra-Community traffic and those used for extra-Community trade, and they should be subject to separate requirements.

[11] Regulation 11 (alternative security agreements) of Chapter XI-2 of the SOLAS Convention.

In the case of ports which are only occasionally used for international transport, it would be unnecessarily expensive to implement the measures contained in the abovementioned international instruments on a permanent basis. Temporary, but effective implementation of these measures when international transport operations are carried out would appear to be a more flexible and more economic solution. That is why the Commission considers that use should be made, within the Community, of the flexibility arrangements provided for in this connection in the amendment to the SOLAS Convention [12], on an ad hoc case-by-case basis in order to limit this to what is strictly necessary.

[12] Regulation 2, paragraph 2 (application to port facilities occasionally serving ships engaged on international voyages) of Chapter XI-2 of the SOLAS Convention.

3.1.3. Cruise ships

The IMO work on security does not address specific measures applicable to cruise ships. However, the Commission considers, as already indicated in its Transport White Paper, that they deserve special attention. Given the nature of their journeys and the large number of passengers on board them, they could be a target in the same way as other means of collective transport. Consequently, it is necessary that access to cruise ships should be the subject of tighter controls on people, their property and the ship's provisions. By way of example, the provisions adopted for the embarkation of passengers on board cruise ships in the port of Genoa, which seem to based on air transport practices, deserves special mention. In 2002, the Commission funded a study on improving the security of cruise passengers in the Mediterranean ports of the EU. Its findings, combined with those expected from a larger-scale study on the whole issue of port security, will form part of the basis for a forthcoming legislative initiative on port security. The question of checks on cruise ship passengers and, where appropriate, crew members could be examined in the context of the recasting of the relevant texts, such as the Common Manual for External Borders.

Lastly, emergency measures in the event of malevolent acts at sea against such ships should be envisaged. Some Member States are already well prepared. Their know-how should be spread within the Community and emergency protocols should be developed. The Commission therefore wishes to encourage closer cooperation between all the Member States with regard to maritime counter-terrorism measures [13] in the event of malevolent acts against Community ships, in particular those directly targeted on cruise ships and passenger ships, or indirectly targeted on Europe ports.

[13] Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JAI of 13 June 2002 on combating terrorism (OJ L 164).

3.1.4. Ships engaged in domestic traffic

In order for security arrangements to be effective, they have to be applied as widely as possible. The US Coast Guard is interpreting this principle very broadly, by envisaging applying all the new IMO security rules to all boats operating in American waters, including those engaged in domestic traffic, and to make mandatory all of Part B of the ISPS Code.

The Commission does not consider that such radical measures are needed as far as the Community is concerned. However, it considers it to be essential to apply some provisions to domestic maritime transport in order to achieve the overall maritime transport security objective. It considers that, in order to maintain equality of access to the market, these measures should be taken in a uniform fashion in all the Member States. This should take place in compliance with the principle of the proportionality of the measures to be applied compared with the potential risks. Consequently, priority should be given to passenger transport, where the consequences of an intentional illegal act are the heaviest with regard to the human lives at stake. However, this must not represent too big a constraint for scheduled maritime services, provided that the general level of security sought is not compromised.

3.2. The security of Community ports

The scope of the work concerning maritime security at the IMO is limited to ships and to port facilities where the ship/port interface takes place [14]. Apart from providing this interface, ports are crossroads for flows of people and goods coming either from the sea or from inland. It also brings together a range of workers involved in various kinds of professional activities who are essential to the smooth functioning of trade.

[14] The IMO Diplomatic Conference of 12 December 2002, gave the ILO a mandate, in collaboration with the IMO, to draw up a guide to good practice covering all aspects of security. It would therefore be desirable to extend this good practice to port workers and all the trades people occasionally working in port areas as well as to seafarers.

Consequently, without establishing tangible and somewhat "virtual" categorisations, the Commission is of the opinion that a number of common-sense practices with regard to security should be spread, taking into account an effective analysis of the risks, the geography and the activity of each port.

In this connection, a number of constants can be identified. Arriving at ports by various means of transport, flows of freight, passengers and port workers need to be identified and differentiated in order to facilitate processing and relevant security checks. Reserved areas where access is regulated should be established according to the sensitivity or hazardousness of the facilities which they contain (e.g. embarkation areas and storage areas for sensitive or hazardous products). [15]

[15] The annual report to be produced by the SIT (Safe Intermodal Transport) thematic network funded by the Commission for the period 2003-2006 may be able to provide the basis for solutions in this connection.

Rationalisation should also be sought in the checks to be carried out at the entrance to the port area, in particular concerning freight. The multiplicity of competent administrations makes for complex procedures, the slowing-down of traffic flows and errors or emissions, in particular with regard to security checks. Where the checking of goods is concerned, the customs are the competent authorities and the ones best able to implement this type of check and coordinate checks carried out by other national administrations in the framework of their activities. The Commission is in favour of establishing a "single entry point" where all the various authorities involved are present and at which the various checks are carried out. After passing the single entry point, all passengers and goods would be regarded as secure and authorised for embarkation.

In addition, a wider exchange of good practice should be sought between Community ports. This could be based on the example of the RALPH customs contact group made up of senior customs officers from some of the biggest ports in Northern Europe [16] who meet regularly to establish measures to create an equal level of treatment with regard to customs checks. A similar group, ODYSUD, exists for the ports of Southern Europe [17].

[16] Rotterdam, Antwerp, Felixstowe, Hamburg and Le Havre.

[17] Barcelona, Leixoes, Piraeus, Marseille, Trieste and Koper.

Lastly, the Commission considers that the work in progress within the ILO concerning secure identity papers for seafarers will be beneficial both as regards security and as regards improving their living and working conditions.

3.3. Enhancing the security of the logistics chain as a whole

Maritime safety depends to a large extent on the security of other feeder modes of transport. Any chain is only as secure as its weakest link, especially where maritime freight transport is concerned where the volumes involved are so large that physical checking of goods is realistically conceivable at the entrance to the port area only on the basis of targeted inspections based on risk analysis, documentation and intelligence. In this connection, the crucial role of the customs authorities in the checking of goods throughout the international logistics chain should be stressed, particularly as regards containers. It is therefore very important that, right from the start of the loading operations at the warehouse of the first supplier sending freight for shipment by sea, it should be possible to identify both the goods in question and those involved in handling them (suppliers and carriers) and their respective responsibilities. This process should be continued throughout the routing of the goods to the port, particularly if additional loading is carried out.

This is only incompletely achieved at present. Current practices (e.g. written load declaration, physical sealing of containers the inviolability of which is questionable, last-minute additional loading) impose limits on security, particularly the abovementioned "said to contain ..." practice.

That is why the Commission supports the G8 approach to container security. Furthermore, it considers that encouragement should be given for any technological solution which makes it possible to develop "smart" secure containers and generalise their use in all modes of transport [18]. The recent initiative to establish computerised customs [19] accordingly seeks to introduce a technological solution involving all the parties in the freight logistics chain in the same computerised freight monitoring system. Generalisation would offer several advantages, the first being an increase in the security of the entire transport chain as a result of real-time knowledge of the nature of the goods transported, and of the various parties and their responsibilities. There can legitimately be expected to be an increase in the quality and efficiency of the transport chain, a reduction in its use for illicit purposes, and a reduction in theft during transport. Similarly, container fleet management would be simplified and more economic, since any container would be useable for any destination on any mode of transport [20]. It is therefore essential to generalise the use of this type of container ultimately, for undoubted security reasons but also to avoid any sort of disparity between the different modes of transport [21]. This practice would in fact make it possible to meet the needs of both speed of processing and security of containers during transhipment [22] in ports, which call for special attention which is by no means always given to them from the security point of view at present.

[18] In this connection, mention should be made of the SIMTAG (Safe and Secure Intermodal Transport Across the Globe) project (under the 5th Research Framework Programme) which covers a large proportion of these concerns on a technical level.

[19] Commission Communication on a simplified and computerised environment for customs, in preparation.

[20] Conversely, if the use of "smart" containers were to be limited to international traffic this would, in addition to the shortfall in security in other types of transport, generate unnecessary storage and unladen-transport costs for "international" containers (in 2001, the percentage of containers transported unladen was put at 21.7% of the total transported - source: Policy Research Corporation). Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that minimum requirements must be complied with in connection with food and animal feedingstuffs so as to avoid contamination, and that the best option here is to use special-purpose containers.

[21] The Commission will advocate this approach in the proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on intermodal loading units which it will shortly be putting forward.

[22] "transhipment": keep this word in all the versions

3.4. Monitoring and administration of maritime security

The new standards adopted by the IMO clearly define certain security responsibilities, in particular with regard to the Contracting Governments and shipping companies. However, a number of grey or complex areas continue to exist in the shipping world and hamper the implementation of optimum security.

The Commission considers that greater transparency is needed with regard to the identification of ship operators. It notes in this connection that in July 2002 the OECD's Maritime Transport Committee started drawing up an inventory of practices which may make for a lack of transparency in this connection.

In addition, and even though the Commission has itself taken steps to address all aspects concerning the security of maritime transport, it would be worthwhile if the Member States were all to adopt a multidisciplinary approach to this issue. The Commission is perfectly well aware of the historical, cultural and other reasons why the Member States have each adopted a different administrative and economic system for maritime and port matters, in particular at the level of the supervisory authorities. Without calling this into question, the Commission above all wants clear and comprehensible procedures to be established at both national and Community level with regard to maritime security.

Concerning the application of security measures in port areas, the Commission is in favour of a "single entry point" procedure as described in Section 3.2 above.

Moreover, the amendment to the SOLAS Convention and the ISPS Code assign major responsibilities for security to the Contracting Governments. Part B of the Code recommends the designation of a national contact point responsible for national maritime security matters and liaising with the contact points of the other Contracting Governments. The Commission considers it essential to designate such contact points within the Member States, as sole national authorities responsible for ship and port facility security. Similarly, a "competent authority for port security" would seem to be essential in order to coordinate, for each Community port, the application of security measures for ships and port facilities.

Provisions are therefore contained in the attached proposal for a Regulation so as to make it possible, at Community level, to monitor the implementation of the abovementioned security measures and specify the possible role of the European Maritime Safety Agency in this connection.

3.5. Maritime transport risk insurance

The insurance industry still tends to regard the risks associated with terrorist acts as coming under the heading of risks of war or armed conflict, where shipping is concerned. In fact, the terrorist risk would seem to be an everyday risk and cannot be confined to specific geographical areas, as may be possible in the case of risks of war and, to a certain extent, piracy. Consequently, the insurance industry should, analysing the risks covered, separate the different types of risks on the basis of the concept of the risk effectively run by the contractor operating in areas recognised as being dangerous. The Commission intends to analyse in 2003 the potential consequences in terms of insurance of enhancing maritime security in order to encourage better coverage of risk for maritime transport operators and customers. It will examine the possible benefits of proposing, in this connection, additional measures to those contained in the proposal for a Directive on compensation for the victims of crime [23] submitted in October 2002.

[23] COM(2002) 562 final of 16 October 2002.

3.6. International mutual recognition

The implementation of the abovementioned measures deriving from the consequences of international instruments and initiatives taken within the EU should convince the Community's partners of its desire to ensure the highest level of security of maritime transport for its benefit and for their benefit. The EU should therefore be assured of the same level of security on their side in its trade, so as to arrive at mutual recognition entailing equality of treatment. In particular, it will be necessary to evaluate the assistance which should be given to the least-favoured countries to enable them to reach equivalent security standards [24]. However, this cannot be achieved without cooperation embracing all the countries concerned by international maritime traffic. Nevertheless, the vigour of trade flows and the security of the people of the EU are at stake. The Commission will therefore encourage the establishment of partnership based on mutual and reciprocal recognition of security and control measures with all its international partners, including the USA, so as to promote the harmonious and secure flow of world maritime trade.

[24] It should be noted that Resolution No 5 adopted on 12 December 2002 by the IMO Diplomatic Conference calls for such assistance, as well as technical cooperation, vis-à-vis these countries.

4. Conclusions

The Commission considers that comprehensive and coherent action is needed on the part of the Community in order to enhance maritime transport security. While continuing to encourage progress within the international organisations, there is a need to implement effectively the measures adopted by them as soon as possible; to define also the necessary security measures not covered by the future international agreements; and to ensure, at international level, the recognition of the actions accomplished, in order to promote trade without risk of distortion of competition. This is the philosophy that should underlie the negotiations with the USA on the basis of a mandate given by the Council, and the negotiations which the Community is conducting with its major commercial partners, in particular China and Russia. Lastly, overall coherence and effective implementation of the measures adopted must be monitored in order to ensure the Community's credibility in this matter.

Furthermore, since enhancing security measures, even combined with suitable safety measures, cannot totally rule out all risk of accident, whether unintentional or malevolent, it is appropriate to reflect upon the existing measures in order to limit the consequences of such accidents. Consequently, in order to limit the consequences of accidents for people and the environment, whatever their origin, the Commission will examine the advisability of adopting measures aimed in particular at guaranteeing a minimum level of information for the general public about how to behave following an accident. In this context, it will also examine, with the Member States, the need to ensure that emergency plans are drawn up and regularly tested in order to guarantee optimum organisation of emergency services in case of need.

On a legislative level, the Commission will act as follows:

- Together with this Communication, it is presenting a proposal for a European Parliament and Council Regulation on enhancing ship and port facility security, which transposes Chapter XI-2 of the IMO SOLAS Convention and ISPS Code, provides a basis for the harmonised interpretation and implementation thereof, and for Community monitoring, and extends certain provisions thereof to domestic maritime traffic

- It will support, in consultation with the Member States, the work of the International Labour Organisation concerning the enhancement of the security of seafarers' identification. As necessary, in the second half of 2003 it will launch a legislative initiative in this connection following the scheduled adoption in June 2003 of the text by the International Labour Organisation

- In the absence of an international text which at present defines the security measures applicable to all port areas, the Commission reserves the right to present in the course of 2003 a proposal for a Directive defining additional security measures to be implemented in Community ports.


Port Traffic - Major EU Seaports

Port traffic league by total cargo traffic 2000 / 1996 (million tonnes)


Source: Institute of Shipping Economics and Logistics, BREMEN - Shipping Statistics Yearbook 2001


The fifteen main EU ports for container traffic in 2000

(in millions transport units - TEU)

Rotterdam // 6.27

Hamburg // 4.24

Antwerp // 4.08

Felixstowe // 2.80

Bremerhaven // 2.71

Gioia Tauro // 2.65

Algeciras // 2.01

Genoa // 1.50

Le Havre // 1.46

Barcelona // 1.38

Valencia // 1.30

Piraeus // 1.15

Southampton // 1.06

Zeebrugge // 0.96

La Spezia // 0.91

Source : Lloyds List Special Report, September 26, 2001 and Policy Research Corporation