02 June 2023


On 1 June, the European Commission presented five legislative proposals to modernise EU rules on maritime safety and prevent water pollution from ships. This package aims to align EU rules with international regulations and improve implementation and enforcement of the rules.

Three out of the five proposals are focusing on modernising and improving maritime safety rules., focusing on port State control and maritime investigations. The package of proposals includes:

  • Clear requirements for flag State inspections, based on international rules, as well as specific EMSA trainings for national administrations to enhance the controls that Member State authorities have over their fleets. This will improve maritime safety and reduce the risks of environmental pollution,
  •  Port State control will be extended to cover additional international rules, such as new Conventions on ballast water and sediments and removal of wrecks. The proposal also updates the way ships are targeted for inspection, to reflect new requirements and will attach more importance to the environmental related performance and deficiencies of ships.
  • National accident investigation bodies will receive further support from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). A pool of experts of different disciplines will be available upon request, as well as specialised tools and equipment.

This legislative package also includes measures to prevent any type of illegal discharges into European seas. To achieve this, the proposals:

  •  Align EU rules with international regulations and extends the scope to cover a wider range of polluting substances (in addition to illegal discharges of oil and noxious liquid substances) such as discharges of harmful substances carried in packaged form, sewage, garbage, discharge waters and residues from scrubbers.
  • Optimises CleanSeaNet - EMSA's surveillance and information sharing database to facilitate enforcement and cooperation between Member States in case of cross-border ship-source pollution incidents.
  • Establishes a strengthened legal framework for penalties and their application, enabling national authorities to take adequate action in case of illegal discharge and impose penalties, such as fines.

 Finally, a proposal updates EMSA’s mandate to better reflect the growing role of the Agency in many maritime transport areas (safety, pollution prevention and environmental protection, climate action…), including the implementation of FuelEU Maritime and the extension of EU ETS to maritime transport.

 The package of proposals will be now discussed by the Parliament and the Council under the ordinary legislative procedure.

Source: European Commission