Documents considered by the Committee on 13 July 2016 Contents

9Passenger ship safety

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Not cleared from scrutiny; further information requested

Document details

(a) Proposed Directive about safety rules and standards for passenger ships; (b) Proposed Directive about registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from ports of the Member States and reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States; (c) Proposed Directive about a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft in regular service

Legal base

Article 100(2) TFEU; ordinary legislative procedure; QMV

Department

Transport

Document Numbers

(a) (37832), 9953/16 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 369;
(b) (37833), 9964/16 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 370;
(c) (37834), 9965/16 + ADDs 1–3, COM(16) 371

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

9.1REFIT is the Commission’s programme to assess the fitness and performance of existing EU policies. Following a REFIT evaluation and a subsequent consultation amongst Member States, the Commission has published three proposed amending Directives, which aim to simplify and streamline the existing EU passenger ship safety legislation. The Commission’s aim is to ensure that EU rules remain proportionate, are correctly implemented, avoid overlap and inconsistencies between related legislation, and maintain a clear, simple legal framework.

9.2The Government reminds us that it welcomed the outcome of the REFIT evaluation, comments positively on aspects of the present proposals, but says that it is considering its position on the details and draws our attention to a number of issues it has already identified as needing further consideration.

9.3We recognise the potential utility of these simplification proposals. But before considering them further we wish to hear from the Government about its more detailed consideration of the proposed Directives. In particular we wish to hear further about the issue of Delegated Acts, the question of wave height limits, removal of references to some chapters of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention and the related question of external competence, and the practicality of using Automatic Identification Systems for recording passenger numbers. Meanwhile the documents remain under scrutiny.

Full details of the documents

(a) Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2009/45/EC on safety rules and standards for passenger ships: (37832), 9953/16 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 369; (b) Proposal for a Directive 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 amending 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: (37833), 9964/16 + ADDs 1–2, COM(16) 370; (c) Proposal for a Directive on a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft in regular service and amending Directive 2009/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on port state control and repealing Council Directive 1999/35/EC: (37834), 9965/16 + ADDs 1–3, COM(16) 371.

Background

9.4In October 2015 the Commission published a REFIT (its regulatory fitness and performance programme) evaluation of current EU passenger ship safety legislation, which it had undertaken in partnership with the European Maritime Safety Agency, national administrations and an external contractor. It said that as follow-up to the evaluation it would first aim to simplify the passenger ship safety regulatory framework by considering proposals to remove outdated, ambiguous and overlapping requirements identified by the fitness check and it would secondly make further assessment of a number of other safety and internal market related issues.19

The documents

9.5Following the REFIT evaluation and a subsequent targeted consultation amongst Member States, the Commission has published three proposed amending Directives, which aim to simplify and streamline the existing EU passenger ship rules. The Commission’s aim is to ensure that that EU rules remain proportionate, are correctly implemented, avoid overlap and inconsistencies between related legislation, and maintain a clear, simple legal framework.

Safety rules and standards for passenger ships

9.6Directive 2009/45/EC was introduced to ensure safety standards, and remove the barriers to trade, on seagoing domestic passenger ships. It implements the standards of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention with regards to ship construction, fire protection and safety, (which would normally be applicable only for ships on international voyages), and applies and scales them so that they are proportionate for seagoing domestic passenger ships.

9.7In order to simplify Directive 2009/45/EC the Commission proposes an amending Directive, document (a), which would:

Passenger counting

9.8Directive 2009/45/EC requires passenger details to be recorded on a company’s shore-based register prior to departure of passenger ships to or from ports of Member States. The aim is to ensure that the safety of passengers is not compromised by overloading a vessel and that search and rescue in the event of any accident is dealt with effectively.

9.9The Commission’s proposed amending Directive, document (b), takes account of the fact that other pieces of EU legislation dealing with related issues have since been introduced and technology has developed. This has resulted in overlapping reporting of details, in particular for vessels which are required to report to the National Single Window20 which links SafeSeaNet,21 e-Customs22 and other electronic systems. The Commission propose that the current requirement to report passenger details to the company’s passenger register should be replaced by reporting to the National Single Window, thus removing the requirement for double reporting and improving the availability of data to the relevant authorities. The Commission also proposes allowing the use of the Automatic Identification System (AIS)23 to record passenger numbers for smaller vessels engaged on short voyages.

Port State Control Inspections

9.10Directive 1999/35/EC provides for a number of inspection types which address safety characteristics of ro-ro ferries and high speed craft. Since adoption of the Directive, Directive 2009/16/EC has been adopted to strengthen the Port State Control regime. This Directive introduced a risk-based inspection regime. Commission consultation has indicated that the majority of Member States combine the inspections required by Directive 1999/35/EC with other flag state or port state inspections, which leads to overlaps and difficulties with implementation and enforcement of the Directive. In particular, a Port State Control inspection can be replaced by a Directive 1999/35/EC survey — however, as such surveys do not include all elements covered by Port State Control this leads to a regulatory gap.

9.11Introduction of a new Directive, as in document (c), repealing Directive 1999/35/EC, along with ancillary changes to Directive 2009/16/EC, is seen by the Commission as the best way to ensure clarity, coherence and the removal of any regulatory gaps which may exist in the current regulatory regime.

Common provisions

9.12All three of these proposals contain powers for the Commission to adopt delegated acts in respect of excluding amendments to international instruments from the scope of the Directives, updating technical requirements, and establishing the use of a database kept by the Commission of host Member State notifications of exemptions and equivalences.

European Economic Area and timing

9.13The proposed Directive amending 2009/45/EC, document (a), would be applicable within the European Economic Area. The other two proposed Directives would not be applicable within the European Economic Area.

9.14The Commission suggests that the proposed Directives would come into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal and be transposed and implemented 12 months after that date. The timetable for consideration by the Council and European Parliament is not yet confirmed, however the package of proposals has been identified as a priority by the Slovak Presidency and it is expected that initial working party consideration will start this month.

The Government’s view

9.15In his Explanatory Memorandum of 5 July 2016 the Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mr Robert Goodwill), first says that:

“On 23 June, the EU referendum took place and the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. It will be for the next Prime Minister to begin negotiations to exit the EU, and until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation.”

9.16The Minister then comments generally that:

9.17The Minister also says that:

Safety rules and standards for passenger ships

9.18The Minister says that:

Passenger counting

9.19The Minister says that:

Port State Control Inspections

9.20The Minister says that the Government welcomes that the proposal to repeal and replace Directive 1999/35/EC, document (c), would not extend the scope of requirements and would only remove overlaps with other Port State Control requirements.

Financial implications

9.21The Minister says that:

Previous Committee Reports

None.


19 See (37207), 13230/15 + ADDs 1–2: Ninth Report HC 342-ix (2015–16), chapter 17 (18 November 2015).

21 See SafeSeaNet.

22 See e-Customs.

23 AIS is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, and satellites.




© Parliamentary copyright 2015

18 July 2016