A raft of proposals to improve and modernise safety in maritime and reduce pollution are being put to European commissioners.

Three out of the five proposals focus on modernising and improving maritime safety rules, with attention on port state control and accident investigations, ’strengthening the enforcement of rules to reduce incidents and accidents, ultimately preventing loss of human life and environmental pollution’.


Fishing vessels will also be included, and the measures will look at how to make inspections more effective, make better use of digital solutions and ‘step up member states’ capacity to detect safety issues and compliance failings in the environmental and pollution fields’.

Flag states will also be encouraged to share information on the results of inspections.

“With 75% of the EU’s external trade being seaborne, maritime transport is not only the artery of a globalised economy, but also a lifeline for the EU’s islands, peripheral and remote maritime regions,” says the EC. “Although maritime safety in EU waters is currently very high, with few fatalities and no recent major oil spills, more than 2,000 marine accidents and incidents are still reported every year.

“Our stringent safety standards are effective, but new challenges and technologies require new approaches.”

The European Maritime Safety Agency will also get an updated mandate, which is likely to mean more say in safety, pollution, security, surveillance, ‘climate action’, crisis management and digitalisation.

The measures to control pollution will see an extension of the range of substances classified as polluting; more effective enforcement of international cross-border pollution cases; a framework for penalties and applying them; and the possibility of including air pollutant emissions.

More details on the proposals can be found here.