This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website
Directive 2009/123/EC amended Directive 2005/35/EC to improve rules on ship-source pollution and to ensure that those responsible for discharges of polluting substances are subject to adequate penalties. It requires EU countries to introduce rules on the liability of legal persons under private law* such as companies.
Directive 2009/123/EC also requires EU countries’ national authorities to ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties are applied, including for minor cases. They must cooperate when a vessel is found guilty of illegal discharging in their area of responsibility before the vessels calls at the port of another EU country.
It has applied since 1 October 2005. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 1 April 2007.
The sinking of the Prestige in November 2002 and of the Erika in December 1999 highlighted the need to tighten the net in relation to ship-source pollution. However, accidents are not the main source of pollution: most of it is the result of deliberate discharges (tank-cleaning operations and waste oil disposal).
These rules incorporate into EU law parts of the 1973 International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and its 1978 Protocol (known as the Marpol Convention). This makes it possible to harmonise application of the rules of this convention.
* Reckless action: action taken with the knowledge that it is likely to result in damage.
* Exclusive economic zone (EEZ): it is generally understood to arise when a country assumes jurisdiction over the exploration and exploitation of marine resources off its coast. This section is normally considered to be a band extending 200 miles from the shore.
* Legal persons under private law: all legal entities, such as companies, with the exception of states, public bodies and international public organisations.
Directive 2005/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements (OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, pp. 11–21).
Successive amendments to Directive 2005/35/CE have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Directive 2000/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2000 on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues – Commission declaration (OJ L 332, 28.12.2000, pp. 81–90). See consolidated version.
last update 25.04.2016