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24.1.

2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 22/19

Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on:

— the ‘Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on
the Safety of the seaborne oil trade’,

— the ‘Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending
Council Directive 95/21/EC concerning the enforcement, in respect of shipping using
Community ports and sailing in the waters under the jurisdiction of the Member States, of
international standards for ship safety, pollution prevention and shipboard living and
working conditions (port State control)’,

— the ‘Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending
Council Directive 94/57/EC on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey
organisations and for the relevant activities of maritime administrations’, and

— the ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the
accelerated phasing-in of double hull or equivalent design requirements for single hull oil
tankers’

(2001/C 22/06)

THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS,

having regard to the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending
Council Directive 95/21/EC concerning the enforcement, in respect of shipping using Community ports
and sailing in the water under the jurisdiction of the Member States, of international standards for ship
safety, pollution prevention and shipboard living and working conditions (port State control),

the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive
94/57/EC on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations and for the
relevant activities of maritime administrations and

the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accelerated phasing-
in of double hull or equivalent design requirements for single hull oil tankers (COM(2000) 142 final —
2000/0065 (COD) — 2000/0066 (COD) — 2000/0067 (COD));

having regard to the decision taken by the European Commission on 23 March 2000, under the first
paragraph of Article 265 and the second paragraph of Article 80 of the Treaty establishing the European
Community, to consult the Committee of the Regions on the matter;

having regard to the decision of the Bureau of the Committee of the Regions of 13 June 2000, under
Rule 39 of the Rules of Procedure, to direct Commission 3 (Trans-European Networks, Transport and
Information Society) to draw up the relevant opinion;

having regard to Council Directive 93/75/EEC of 13 September 1993 concerning minimum requirements
for vessels bound for or leaving Community ports and carrying dangerous or polluting goods;

having regard to Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2158/93 of 28 July 1993 concerning the application
of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, and to the International
Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, for the purpose of Council Regulation
(EEC) No 613/91;

having regard to the Council Resolution of 8 June 1993 on a common policy on safe seas;

having regard to the Commission Decision of 30 September 1996, 96/587/EEC, on the publication of
the list of recognised organisations which have been notified by Member States in accordance with
Council Directive 94/57/EC;

having regard to the draft opinion adopted by Commission 3 on 26 June 2000 (CdR 165/2000 rev. 1)
(rapporteur: Mr Lamberti (I-PES);
C 22/20 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 24.1.2000

whereas measures to improve transport safety are a matter of Community competence under the terms
of Article 75c of Title IV of the Treaty establishing the European Community;

whereas the question of maritime transport safety and the consequences of pollution are of profound
importance for the Member States and local authorities, and accidental oil spills from tankers continue to
constitute a serious cause of concern to the European Commission, as illustrated by the recent accident
involving the oil tanker Erika,

adopted the following opinion at its 35th plenary session of 20 and 21 September 2000 (meeting of
21 September).

1. Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament 1.5. Considers that clear conditions must be laid down
and of the Council amending Council Directive in order to ensure that real, effective and in-depth visual
95/21/EC concerning the enforcement, in respect of examinations are carried out in all the accessible parts of the
shipping using Community ports and sailing in the ship so that any structural faults can be detected: to this end,
waters under the jurisdiction of the Member States, the Committee calls upon the Commission to put forward
of international standards for ship safety, pollution practical and effective instruments for such examinations.
prevention and shipboard living and working con-
ditions (port State control)

1.6. Agrees with the compulsory application of the expand-
The Committee of the Regions ed inspection regime to oil tankers older than 15 years, since
statistics have shown that the majority of deficiencies leading
to detention concern ships above this age.

1.1. Approves the line taken by the Commission in refusing
access to Community ports to ships which, because of their
age, flag and history pose a risk hazard to maritime safety and
the marine environment, and highlights the value of the 1.7. Also agrees that Member States must ensure that access
proposed publication and display of the list of ships refused is refused to all Community ports to ships covered by Annex V
access, through the Sirenac information system. part A of the directive, in the situations set out in the new
Article 7a, considering that this measure will deter ships
belonging to one of the categories mentioned from sailing in
Community waters.

1.2. Agrees that ships with a high target factor, presenting
serious risk of accident or pollution, must be inspected at
every Community port of call.
1.8. Believes that publication every six months of the
information relating to ships that have been refused access to
Community ports, for the reasons mentioned in the previous
point, is adequate.
1.3. Welcomes the proposal to subject ships classed in one
of the categories of Annex V, section A to an expanded
inspection in the first port of call after a period of 12 months
since the last expanded inspection carried out in a Member
State port, being convinced that this will improve maritime
transport safety, and agrees that mandatory guidelines should 1.9. Approves the proposal to improve information on
be established for this type of inspection: this will enable inspections performed in previous ports, also intended to
inspectors’ margin of discretion in carrying out inspections to avoid repetition of inspections, with the ensuing increase in
be determined, making them as uniform as possible within the the workload of the relevant services.
Community.

1.10. Endorses the inclusion in the directive of the state-
1.4. Agrees that procedures must be laid down for inspec- ment that the administration of the flag State or the classifi-
tors conducting expanded inspections of certain categories of cation society concerned must be informed of the results of
vessel, since this will enable the inspectors’ margin of discretion inspection, so that they can take early action to counter
to be reduced and to harmonise inspections within the possible deterioration of the ship and take the necessary
Community. remedial measures.
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1.11. Agrees with the inclusion in the directive of an 1.16. Emphasises the need to speed up the introduction of
obligation upon inspectors to check the presence on board oil legislative measures in order to encourage the circulation of
tankers carrying more than 2 000 tonnes of oil in bulk of an information on vessel and cargo characteristics (in the event
insurance or other financial guarantee covering pollution of hazardous cargoes), which the Commission plans to
damage; this measure should, by means of appropriate instru- undertake in the future. This is crucial if local administrations
ments, ensure full cover of the costs incurred by regions in are to have the data they need on the transport of hazardous
dealing with any environmental disasters: the Committee substances to draw up emergency plans, including the necess-
attaches particular importance to this aspect of the proposal, ary protective measures to minimise the impact of any
bearing in mind the direct interests of the authorities in the accidents.
areas affected.

1.17. The Committee would therefore draw particular
attention to its views as set out in points 1.4, 1.11 and 1.13,
which it considers essential.

1.12. Agrees that the transparency of information relating
to ships inspected and detained should be boosted, in order to
deter the use of ships which fail to meet established safety 1.18. Lastly, the Committee believes it is especially
standards. important that the issues covered by the draft directive should
be evaluated decisively and individually as part of the accession
procedures, particularly regarding Mediterranean countries
such as Cyprus and Malta.

1.13. Agrees that the directive should include a real obli-
gation upon Member States to forward the information 2. Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament
specified in Annex X to the Commission on an annual basis, and of the Council amending Council Directive
enabling it to intervene more rapidly to prevent anomalies in 94/57/EC on common rules and standards for ship
the application of the directive: such anomalies create the risk inspection and survey organisations and for the
of varying levels of safety and consequently distortion of relevant activities of maritime administrations
competition between EU ports and regions. The Committee
recommends that practical mechanisms and instruments are
devised to ensure that the Member States fulfil this require-
The Committee of the Regions
ment.

2.1. Agrees that the directive must be amended in order to
fine-tune the Community system for recognising classification
societies, particularly as regards controls and sanctions,
especially for damage to the environment, and in order to
1.14. Lastly, while hoping that in the light of the extreme make the requirements to be met by the recognised organis-
urgency of taking action on the safety of maritime oil ations more stringent. This will allow the recognition regime
transport — as recently illustrated by the Erika accident — the to be strengthened and the obligations upon the Member
amendments to the directive will be adopted as soon as States concerning monitoring of the classification societies to
possible, the Committee would nevertheless make the follow- be simplified.
ing recommendations:

2.1.1. The amendment is also important in that it seeks to
bring the directive into line with the relevant amendments to
international conventions and the corresponding mandatory
codes for the Member States, as well as with the relevant
1.15. With regard to the inclusion among the tasks to be International Maritime Organisation (IMO) resolutions.
carried out by inspectors of technical checks on ships’
structures, the Committee would stress that Article 4 should
oblige the Member States to ensure on-going training and
refresher courses for inspectors, on the basis of programmes 2.2. Welcomes the inclusion in the directive of an obli-
coordinated at Community level. This would provide State gation upon Member States to operate in accordance with the
authorities with highly qualified inspection staff with shared provisions of IMO Resolution A.847 on guidelines to assist
basic know-how, and would keep inspectors up-to-date with flag States in the implementation of IMO instruments, since
technological developments in the sector. This is considered this will facilitate effective fulfilment of the obligations of flag
essential if inspections are to be qualitatively adequate. States in this area deriving from international conventions.
C 22/22 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 24.1.2000

2.3. Approves the amendment to the procedure for grant- 2.11. Agrees that time restrictions for ships to change class
ing initial recognition to the technical organisations wishing should be inserted, since this will enable use of this method to
to be authorised to assess ship safety on behalf of the Member avoid safety standards to be combated.
States, transferring responsibility for recognition from the
Member States to the Commission. This will allow more
harmonised assessments to be carried out within the Com-
munity. 2.12. Approves the amendment to the directive in order to
establish the qualitative criteria to be met by the technical
organisations for the purposes of recognition, as this will
enhance the quality of the service they provide.
2.4. The comments made in point 2.3 above apply equally
to the monitoring of continued compliance with the conditions
laid down by the directive with regard to the technical
organisations, which is entrusted to both the Community and 2.13. Here again, the Committee considers that the contents
the Member States. of the directive must be evaluated with a view to the procedures
covering the accession of countries concerned by these matters.

2.5. Welcomes the introduction, as a precondition for
granting initial recognition to technical organisations carrying
out ship safety assessments, and maintaining such recognition,
of a good record of safety and pollution prevention perform- 3. Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament
ance by ships classed by these organisations, irrespective of and of the Council on the accelerated phasing-in of
the flag flown. double hull or equivalent design standards for single
hull oil tankers

2.6. Endorses extending the authority to suspend recog- The Committee of the Regions
nition of technical organisations to the Commission, under a
procedure involving the committee set up under Article 7 and
composed of Member State representatives.
3.1. Welcomes the adoption of the regulation, noting that
this legislative instrument is the best way of achieving the
accelerated implementation of the new safety standards laid
2.7. Agrees that withdrawal of recognition of an organis- down for oil tankers (Articles 1 and 2).
ation that fails to fulfil the provisions set out in the directive, or
whose safety and pollution prevention performance becomes
unsatisfactory, should be decided at Community level, in
order to ensure that procedures are uniform throughout the 3.2. Agrees with the Commission’s reasons for drawing up
Community. the regulation, which will boost the process of gradually
eliminating single hull tankers in accordance with elimination
criteria that must not be less severe than those contained in
United States legislation, and agrees that efforts must be made
2.8. Welcomes negotiations with those third countries to apply these deadlines internationally. This will prevent
where some of the recognised organisations are located, in vessels banned from US waters from beginning to operate in
order to ensure equality of treatment with such organisations European Community waters (Article 4): the Committee views
located within the Community. this point as a priority, and all the EU institutions must make
every effort to ensure that the timing of Community legislation
corresponds precisely with that of the United States.

2.9. proposes an alternative provision governing the liab-
ility of recognised organisations vis-à-vis the official bodies
with which they have established a working relationship. In 3.3. Approves the introduction by the directive of financial
addition to the obligation upon Member States to inform the incentives for double hull tankers and disincentives for single
European Commission and the other Member States of such a hull vessels, in order to speed up the process of replacing the
relationship, the alternative provision would establish liability latter with the former.
on the part of the recognised organisation, in the event of
minor error, at a level not below a sum fixed by the directive.

3.3.1. Similarly welcomes the fact that the mixed incentive-
s/disincentives system is based on a combination of reducing
2.10. Agrees with the need to encourage the widest possible port and pilotage dues for tankers of the first type or of
circulation of the information concerning ships provided by equivalent design standard and increased dues for tankers of
the recognised organisations. the second type (Article 5).
24.1.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 22/23

3.4. Notes that the IMO must be notified of the Community — proposes that the extension of the mandatory notification
provisions set out in the regulation once it is adopted, in under Directive 93/75/EEC to ships in transit off the
accordance with Article 211 of the United Convention on the Community be put forward again in the near future at
Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (Article 6). Community level.

3.5. Approves the provisions whereby the Member States The Committee is also highly favourable to the idea of
must: eventually setting up a European structure of maritime safety,
enabling safety rules to be applied effectively and in a uniform
manner throughout the European Community.
— verify that the differential charging system for port and
pilotage dues is applied;
In view of the tasks which the Commission proposes be
— send a report to the Commission each year on the result entrusted to this structure (supporting the action of Member
of verification. It will thus be possible to verify proper States and the Commission in applying and monitoring
application by the Member States of the provisions of Community legislation and in evaluating the effectiveness of
Article 5 of the regulation (Article 7). the measures in place), the Committee considers that:

— regional and local authorities should be able to contribute
3.6. Approves the establishment of the regulatory com- to the process of setting up the structure;
mittee under Article 8.

— regional and local authorities must have the appropriate
contacts and relations with this structure on a basis of
3.7. Agrees that the Commission should have the right to
equality with other levels of administration.
amend the regulation and its annex to update the references to
the relevant regulations of MARPOL 73/78 in line with any
subsequent amendments to these regulations.
This would ensure that regional and local authorities could —
in accordance with the principle of transparency of infor-
mation regarding the ships covered by the legislative proposals
3.8. Welcomes the abolition of the existing differential discussed in the present opinion — have access to the
charging system under Council Regulation (EC) No 2978/94 necessary information to take effective measures to deal with
and its replacement with the new one under the proposed any accidents, such as the Erika incident, and to channel
regulation. relevant information to citizens. This last aspect is particularly
pertinent in view of the great importance public opinion
attaches to pollution issues.
3.9. Endorses the application of the regulation 12 months
after its entry into force, as specified in Article 12.
3.12. The Committee notes that Community legislation to
introduce obligatory use of double hull oil tankers must be
3.10. Supports the provisions of the proposed regulation brought into line with the deadlines laid down in OPA 90,
as a whole, but wishes to make the following point: fully sharing the concerns expressed by the Commission
regarding the probable shift of commercial operations on the
part of oil tankers banned from the United States towards
— the rules contained in the regulation refer to oil tankers; Europe. It also believes that this measure will have a beneficial
since it is assumed that the aim of the regulation is to impact on the phasing-out of older, and therefore less safe,
prevent pollution and its consequences, the Committee vessels.
proposes that these rules also be rapidly extended,
by adopting similar prevention systems reflecting the
different transport safety technologies, to gas and chemi-
cal tankers. 3.13. The Committee also recognises the need for steps to
be taken to substantially reduce the currently permitted size of
individual tanks in tankers.
3.11. The Committee welcomes all the proposals for future
measures put forward by the Commission. In this regard, the
Committee:
3.14. The Committee would alert the Commission to the
need to deal with owner and crew related problems, at the
— hopes for further development of the EQUASIS infor- appropriate levels. The former are all too often shadowy to the
mation system, and subsequently for a permanent com- point of complete invisibility, and the latter totally unable to
mitment on the part of the Member States and the ensure at least full compensation for loss, particularly in the
Commission to the project; event of environmental disaster. It is common knowledge that
C 22/24 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 24.1.2000

the effect of the current rules governing the liability of owners 4.3. Recommends that a wide-reaching Community pro-
and crews is that the party actually liable most often remains gramme be created to provide specific assistance to the
either unknown or in any case ‘untouchable’. This problem is development and modernisation of the maritime sector of the
no less important that those addressed by the proposals to Union’s poorest countries.
amend Directives 95/21/EC and 9457/EC and by the proposal
for a regulation. 4.4. Considers that candidates for accession to the Union
(Cyprus, Malta, and the Baltic states) should have adminis-
The Committee of the Regions trations capable of carrying out inspections and ensuring
compliance with international standards.

4. Supports the development of Europe’s fleet and ports by 4.5. Believes that it is important to move towards social
emphasising safety. Although the reinforcement of the above- and fiscal harmonisation in the European Union, in particular
mentioned safety inspections and standards will undoubtedly by:
constitute progress, this will not be enough to radically modify
maritime transport. The Committee of the Regions wishes to — ensuring substantial rights for employees;
make several proposals whose implementation it considers
urgent, in particular within the framework of enlargement. — complying with social rules concerning crews;
— expanding employment;
4.1. Stresses the urgent need to continue efforts to harmon-
ise the maritime administrations of the various Member States — promoting and preserving the maritime professions while
while giving priority to the most rigorous safety criteria and providing appropriate vocational training.
by introducing coherent monitoring arrangements.
4.6. Urges the European Union to examine the possibility
of introducing a maritime safety tax. The tax would be based
4.2. Considers that there is an urgent need to implement a on the nature of the merchandise transported, and its purpose
European risk prevention policy aimed at all participants in would be to raise sufficient funds to ensure effective preven-
the transport chain. tion.

Brussels, 21 September 2000.

The President
of the Committee of the Regions
Jos CHABERT