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Measures to support freight transport
18 October 2007


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Maritime Safety

1978 - 1992: A first set of actions

In response to the oil spill caused by the "Amoco Cadiz", oil tanker which sunk off the coast of Brittany on 16 March 1978, the Council adopted a Resolution on 26 June 1978 (OJ C162 of 08/07/1978) setting up an action programme of the European Communities on the control and reduction of pollution caused by hydrocarbons discharged at sea.

Although, this Resolution focused on the need for specific actions to improve maritime safety only a few concrete decisions were taken at Community level. In the meantime new tragedies occurred such as the capsizing of the Herald of free Enterprise off the port of Zeebrugge (Belgium) on 6 March 1987 and the vast oil spill caused by the Exxon Valdez, oil tanker which ran aground off the Alaska’s coast in March 1989.

On 21 December 1978, the Council adopted Directive 79/115/EEC regulating the compulsory pilotage of vessels by deep-sea pilots in sensitive maritime areas such as the North Sea and the English Channel.

In June 1990, the Council adopted two further Resolutions (OJ C206 of 18/08/1990), one on the prevention of accidents causing marine pollution, the other on improving passenger ferry safety. These Resolutions essentially addressed Member States, urging them to ratify the relevant international Conventions.

On 4 March 1991, Council Regulation (EEC) N°613/91 on the transfer of ships from one register to another within the Community, aims at facilitating the change of flag between member States on the basis of mutual recognition of safety and pollution prevention certificates as laid down in the main IMO Conventions.

On 25 February 1992, the Council adopted Council Decision 92/143/EEC on radionavigation systems for Europe. The main objective of this Decision is to support international action towards a complete, consistent coverage of European waters with the terrestrial Loran-C radionavigation system.

In the meantime, the Commission made several proposals which have not been adopted. The lack of actual Community role during this period 1978-1992 being essentially due to the unanimity rule for maritime and air transport decisions, which was abandoned on 1 November 1993 when the Maastricht Treaty entered into force.



last update: 15-12-2008