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Maritime transport

Measures to support freight transport
18 October 2007


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Maritime Safety

2000-2005: Promoting safe seas

| The ERIKA-I and ERIKA-II packages of measures
| The "PRESTIGE" accident
| The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)

The Commission proposed to set up a European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) in the aftermath of the “Erika” accident. Regulation 1406/2002, establishing this Agency, was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 27 June 2002 and entered into force in August of the same year. In general terms EMSA provides technical and scientific assistance to the Commission in the fields of maritime safety, maritime security, prevention of pollution and response to pollution caused by ships.  Its assistance is particularly relevant in the continuous process of updating and developing new legislation, monitoring its implementation and evaluating the effectiveness of the measures in place. In order to monitor the implementation of the Community acquis, the specialised staff of the Agency carries out control visits to Member States and, in specific areas, to third countries. Such visits started in 2004 and intensified over the last years.

The Agency has also the task to assist Member States with regard to the practical implementation of Community legislation, organising appropriate training activities and favouring a dissemination of best practices in the Community.  Even more importantly, with the entry into force of Regulation 724/2004 it has to assist, upon request, with antipollution means (specialised ships and equipment) Member States affected by pollution caused by ships. In fact, in the aftermath of the "Prestige" accident in November 2002, it became obvious that additional measures had to be taken on a European level not only with regard to the prevention of pollution by ships, but also the response to such pollution. In October 2004 EMSA adopted a pollution response plan in order to initiate actions in line with its new task. The European Commission proposed a financial package of 154 million € over a period of seven years (2007-2013) to allow the European Maritime Safety Agency to finance this specific task on a multi-annual basis and to combat pollution caused by ships in a more efficient way (see Regulation 2038/2006). The funds enable the Agency to make specialised anti-pollution vessels available to Member States to recover pollutants and develop satellite images to detect pollution in good time (CleanSeaNet).

Key areas where EMSA has already made valuable contributions are the monitoring of classification societies, port state control and the development of ship reporting systems in Member States. Furthermore, EMSA is operating the SafeSeaNet project, a pan-European electronic information system dealing with ship movements and cargoes. In addition to the above, the intensification of control visits in Member States, the cross fertilisation of databases and the audit of seafarers training and certification systems in third countries are among the main challenges of EMSA for the next years.

Since 2006, EMSA is hosted in Lisbon.

More information is available on EMSA's website.


last update: 15-12-2008