EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

Back to EUR-Lex homepage

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 32017L2110

Safety of ro-ro passenger ships and high-speed passenger craft

Safety of ro-ro passenger ships and high-speed passenger craft



Directive (EU) 2017/2110 on a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro passenger ships and high-speed passenger craft in regular service


It lays down rules for a system of inspections and safe operation of ro-ro passenger ships and high-speed passenger craft in regular service.


Scope and definitions

The directive applies to the following, carrying 12 or more passengers:

  • ro-ro passenger ships, defined as ships equipped for road or rail vehicles to roll on and roll off the vessels when in port;
  • high speed passenger ships, defined as craft capable of a maximum speed of at least 3.7 x v0.1667 in metres per second, (where v = the craft’s displacement in cubic metres), but excluding hydrofoil-type craft;
  • regular service is when the craft operate between the same 2 or more ports, or a series of voyages from and to the same port without intermediate calls, to a published timetable; or with systematic regular or frequent crossings.


EU countries must carry out inspections as follows:

  • pre-commencement inspection before craft are put into regular service;
  • subsequent inspections every 12 months;
  • regular service inspections 4-8 months after annual inspections;
  • inspections after major repairs or modification, or when there is a change of management.

The inspections should meet the statutory requirements of the EU country concerned, and cover subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations, loading and stability, fire protection, maximum number of passengers, life-saving appliances and the carriage of dangerous goods, radiocommunications and navigation.

Compliance with the the following is verified:

  • information for the master on shore-based navigational guidance systems is available;
  • a table with the shipboard working arrangements is posted including a schedule of service at sea and in port; and the maximum hours of work or the minimum hours of rest required for watchkeepers;
  • the master is not constrained from taking any decisions necessary for safe navigation and operation, in particular in severe weather and in heavy seas;
  • the master keeps a record of navigational activities and incidents important for safety;
  • any damage to shell doors and deficiencies in securing the doors, are promptly dealt with;
  • an up-to-date voyage plan is available before the departure;
  • general information about the services and assistance available to elderly and disabled persons on board is made known.

The inspection checklist also includes:

  • emergency generator start up;
  • emergency lighting;
  • emergency power for radios;
  • public address system;
  • fire drill, including a demonstration of the ability to use firemen’s outfits;
  • operation of the emergency fire-pump with two firehoses connected to the fire main line in operation;
  • testing the remote emergency stop controls for fuel supply to boilers, main and auxiliary engines, and ventilation fans;
  • testing of controls for the closing of fire dampers;
  • testing of fire detection and alarm systems;
  • testing fire door closing;
  • bilge pump operation;
  • remote and local closing of watertight bulkhead doors;
  • demonstration that key crew members are acquainted with the damage control plan;
  • launch and recovery of at least one rescue boat and one lifeboat, testing propulsion and steering;
  • checking that lifeboats and rescue boats correspond to the inventory;
  • testing steering gear and auxiliary steering gear.

​​​​​​There must also be evidence that crew have undergone training in:

  • crowd-management;
  • safety training for personnel providing direct safety assistance to passengers, particularly elderly and disabled persons, in an emergency; and
  • crisis management and human behavior.

The following are checked during regular service inspections:

  • passenger information;
  • loading and stability information;
  • ‘secured for sea’ procedures;
  • safety announcements;
  • log book entries;
  • dangerous goods;
  • securing freight vehicles;
  • vehicle decks;
  • closure of watertight doors;
  • fire patrols;
  • communications in an emergency;
  • common working language between crew members;
  • safety equipment;
  • navigational and radio equipment;
  • supplementary emergency lighting;
  • means of escape;
  • engine room cleanliness;
  • rubbish disposal;
  • planned maintenance;
  • making a voyage.

Rectification of deficiencies

The inspector draws up a report, with a copy going to the ship’s master. EU countries should ensure that any deficiencies are rectified. Companies have the right of appeal. Where deficiencies are clearly hazardous to health or safety or pose an immediate danger to health or life, the craft is made subject to a prohibition from departure order until the deficiency has been rectified and all danger averted.


Where inspections confirm deficiencies leading to prohibition of departure, all costs relating to the inspections will be the responsibility of the operator.


It entered into force on 20 December 2017. EU countries have until 21 December 2019 to transpose this legislation into national law and have to apply it thereafter.


The directive replaces and repeals Directive 1999/35/EC. It also amends Directive 2009/16/EC on port state control, expanding its scope.

See also:


Directive (EU) 2017/2110 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2017 on a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro passenger ships and high-speed passenger craft in regular service and amending Directive 2009/16/EC and repealing Council Directive 1999/35/EC (OJ L 315, 30.11.2017, pp. 61-77)


Directive 2009/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on port State control (OJ L 131, 28.5.2009, pp. 57-100)

Successive amendments to Directive 2009/16/EC have been incorporated into the original document. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 22.05.2019