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Summaries of EU Legislation

Safety rules and standards for passenger ships

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Safety rules and standards for passenger ships

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2009/45/EC on safety rules and standards for passenger ships

Directive (EU) 2017/2108 amending Directive 2009/45/EC on safety rules and standards for passenger ships

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

It aims to introduce 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 in the same EU country).

While it was originally intended as a codification of Directive 98/18/EC, it was decided instead to recast the 1998 directive. Directive 2009/45/EC thus repeals and replaces Directive 98/18/EC.

In 2017, following a review of the directive under the regulatory fitness and performance programme initiative (known as REFIT), Directive (EU) 2017/2108 was adopted. It amends Directive 2009/45/EC and clarifies and simplifies the rules and standards for passenger ships.

KEY POINTS

Scope

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

Passenger vessel classification and areas of operation

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.

Technical safety requirements

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.

Inspections and safety certificates

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

Exclusions

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.

Amending Directive (EU) 2017/2108

This amending directive:

  • excludes from the scope of Directive 2009/45/EC
    • all existing and new passenger craft shorter than 24 metres — which will be subject to nationally defined safety standards (in May 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal to coordinate safety rules for small passenger ships of less than 24 metres in length)
    • offshore maintenance vessels carrying workers to and from offshore installations and ship-carried tenders used to transfer more than 12 individuals from a passenger ship to the shore and back
    • pleasure craft, and traditional boats and sailboats if they are equipped with additional mechanical propulsion;
  • simplifies the definitions of maritime zones C and D;
  • classifies passenger ships (A, B, C and D) depending on the sea area in which they can operate;
  • requires ships built in aluminum before 20 December 2017 to comply with its requirements by 22 December 2025. However, if an EU country has more than 60 aluminium-alloy passenger ships flying its flag on20 December 2017 it may exempt aluminium passenger vessels of classes B, C and D from the directive for 12 years after that date, provided that their safety levels are not compromised;
  • requires all new or existing passenger ships to carry a passenger ship safety certificate.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

Directive 2009/45/EC has applied since 15 July 2009. Directive 2009/45/EC revised and replaced Directive 98/18/EC (and its subsequent amendments).

Directive (EU) 2017/2108 entered into force on 20 December 2017 and has to apply in the EU countries by 21 December 2019.

BACKGROUND

Vessels used for domestic voyages in EU waters must meet basic safety standards to protect the lives of their passengers and crew. These standards 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 ships.

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENTS

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) (OJ L 163, 25.6.2009, pp. 1-140)

Successive amendments to Directive 2009/45/EC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Directive (EU) 2017/2108 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2017 amending Directive 2009/45/EC on safety rules and standards for passenger ships (OJ L 315, 30.11.2017, pp. 40-51)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Proposal for a Council Recommendation on safety goals and functional requirements for passenger ships below 24 meters in length (COM(2018) 314 final, 23.5.2018)

Directive (EU) 2017/2109 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2017 amending Council Directive 98/41/EC on the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from ports of the Member States of the Community and Directive 2010/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States (OJ L 315, 30.11.2017, pp. 52-60)

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)

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 98/18/EC of 17 March 1998 on safety rules and standards for passenger ships (OJ L 144, 15.5.1998, pp. 1-115)

See consolidated version.

last update 18.12.2018

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