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Document 31994Y1231(06)

Council Resolution of 22 December 1994 on the safety of roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries

OJ C 379, 31.12.1994, p. 8–9 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT)

In force


Council Resolution of 22 December 1994 on the safety of roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries

Official Journal C 379 , 31/12/1994 P. 0008 - 0009

COUNCIL RESOLUTION of 22 December 1994 on the safety of roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries (94/C 379/05)


Recalling the Commission communication on 'A common policy on safe seas' and the related Council resolution of 8 June 1993 (1),

Deeply concerned by the disastrous accident involving the Estonian roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry 'Estonia' which capsized in stormy seas during her voyage from Tallinn to Stockholm on 28 September 1994 with the tragic loss of more than 900 lives,

Also aware of the fact that similar accidents with roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries have occurred in European waters in recent years,

Convinced that in the light of these casualties the operation of roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries in European waters and, in particular, the design and equipment, the quality of the crews and the responsibility of the owners and operators of this type of ship, must be reviewed and improved,

Referring to Council Directive 94/58/EC of 22 November 1994 on the minimum level of training of seafarers (2), and in particular to Article 8 (1) and (2) thereof, which inter alia establishes specific requirements for communication on board passenger ships,


1. WELCOMES the International Maritime Organization (IMO) initiative of an ad hoc panel of maritime experts to recommend improvements in the safety of roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries;

2. CALLS upon the Member States and the Commission to fully support the IMO initiative and to cooperate in such a way that the panel of experts can present its conclusions and recommendations by May 1995; calls upon the Member States and the Commission to cooperate in ensuring that the panel addresses not only the technical elements but also the wider human element;

3. INVITES the Member States and the Commission to submit or support proposals that the IMO should undertake:

(a) an urgent and thorough review of the intact and damage stability requirements applied to roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries with the aim of significantly enhancing the survivability of such vessels;

(b) a review of the evacuation procedures applying to roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries including the procedures, equipment and crew training requirements for rapid evacuation, effective and understandable communication of safety information and for giving evacuation instructions to passengers on board;

(c) a review of the requirements for qualified medical personnel on board roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries undertaking long voyages;

(d) preparatory work for the amendment of the Solas Convention or the preparation of a free-standing Convention to provide for the investigation of marine casualties and cooperation between States in the investigation of such casualties;

(e) an examination of the necessary technical specifications for the mandatory fitting out of roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries with voyage recorders as an aid to accident investigation following a marine casualty;

(f) the necessary steps to allow application of the standards set out in the 'Agreement concerning the stability of existing ro-ro passenger ships operating services to or from ports within a designated sea area of north west Europe' as a 'regional' standard and to enable Member States to apply these standards to all roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries operating to and from all ports of this specific region;

(g) improved focusing and acceleration of the work of the Subcommittee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) of the IMO;

(h) consideration of the need to prepare operational guidelines for use in adverse weather conditions given the size/type of ro-ro ships concerned and their area of operation;

4. INVITES the Member States and the Commission to strive within the framework of the Paris Memorandum to apply as soon as possible but by 1 January 1995 at the latest the provisions related to expanded inspection embodied in the draft Directive on port-State control;


INVITES the Commission to submit proposals for Council decisions concerning:

1. the advance mandatory application of the International Safety Management Code (IMO Resolution A.741(18)) by 1 July 1996 to all regular roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry services operating to or from European ports, in compliance with international law;

2. a mandatory requirement that all regular roll-on/roll-off vessels carrying passengers to or from ports of the European Union on voyages lasting a number of hours yet to be determined, be equipped with a system indicating accurately the number and names, and on voyages of short duration the number only, of passengers and crews on board the vessel at any time except in case of specific derogation for voyages of very short duration. Such information should be communicated to the shore before the vessel leaves its berth for a place to which the relevant authorities have immediate access;

3. an expanded mandatory survey regime, including operational inspections etc., for all roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries operating to or from ports of the European Union prior to the start of a new service and subsequently at regular intervals;

4. a regime compatible with international law and the need to avoid arbitrary interference with the freedom to trade, for the control by Member States of the safety of all roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries serving European Union ports including the right of investigation of marine casualties as mentioned in the relevant IMO Resolutions;


1. TAKES NOTE of the Commission's intention to submit as soon as possible the proposals mentioned in its action programme and requested by the Council and which could favourably affect the safety of roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries, notably those relating to:

- the application of appropriate working hours and working conditions ensuring safety on board such passenger ships,

- common safety rules for marine equipment used on board commercial and passenger vessels, including rescue facilities, in particular on board vessels with high sides,

- mandatory application of the relevant provisions of certain IMO Assembly Resolutions,

- safety rules for passenger vessels engaged in domestic trade;

2. INVITES the Commission to investigate the effect of competition upon the safe operation of ferries and to report to the Council;

3. INVITES the Commission to report, one year after the implementation by the Member States of Council Directive 94/58/EC, on the effectiveness of the communication arrangements for passengers provided for in that Directive;


1. URGES Member States to inform the Commission of any difficulty they encounter in the implementation of their Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) obligations;

2. URGES Member States to ensure that their requirements for the application of the guidelines for securing arrangements for the transport of road vehicles on board roll-on/roll-off ferries, and in particular those regarding lashings (IMO Resolution A.581(14)), are correctly fulfilled by roll-on/roll-off passenger ferry operators;

3. URGES all classification societies and in particular those who are European Members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) to assess and tighten up their rules governing the structural elements of roll-on/roll-off ferries. Special consideration should be given to the construction and means of securing the doors of roll-on/roll-off passenger ferries which allow vehicle access to vehicle decks;

4. UNDERLINES the need to ensure that adequate search and rescue facilities are available;


DECIDES to keep the matter of ferry safety on its agenda.

(1) OJ No C 271, 7. 10. 1993, p.1.

(2) OJ No L 319, 12. 12. 1994, p.28.