EU ministers urge maritime safety action

Transport Council calls for progress on legal proposals to reduce risk of oil tanker spills

European maritime safety standards should be boosted through concerted action by member states, EU transport ministers argued yesterday. After discussing proposed changes to EU legislation during their quarterly meeting in Luxembourg, ministers called for swifter introduction of new rules, more transparent information, and better dialogue between countries on security procedures.

Member states were asked to increase means for compensating environmental damage, and improve management systems through assessments of current national standards. They also needed to engage in better dialogue with other EU countries on security procedures, ministers said.

Governments' permanent EU representatives will now look at suggested revisions to a 1995 directive on applications by shipping to make stop-overs in EU ports or waters. Proposed amendments would make it easier for authorities to refuse access to dangerous ships on safety or environmental grounds. Adoption of the revised directive is planned for the end of this year.

Permanent representatives were also urged to examine a proposed regulation to require higher hull security standards for ships, and particularly oil tankers, including the introduction of double hulls (ENDS Daily 22 March). Ministers called on the European Commission to evaluate the social, legal and economic consequences of the new rules and to create a database on maritime accidents to improve security and prevent future disasters.

Follow Up:
EU Council of Ministers, tel: +32 2 285 6111 and council minutes.

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