IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE - The information on this site is subject to adisclaimerand acopyright notice
Contact | Search on EUROPA  


Maritime transport

Measures to support freight transport
18 October 2007


Maritime transport policy

Maritime Safety 

Social aspects

Maritime Careers

Sea Ports

Short Sea Shipping

Maritime Research


Public consultations



  Useful links

European Maritime Safety Agency

Security in
Transport & Energy

Inland waterway

Intermodal transport

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 ERIKA-I and ERIKA-II packages of measures

Following the “Erika” accident off the Atlantic coast in December 1999 which caused exceptional high cost damages to the environment, fisheries and tourism, the European Commission prepared measures in record time designed to increase maritime safety. On 21 March 2000, the Commission adopted a first set of proposals (the Erika I package) which was followed by a second set of measures in December 2000 (the Erika II package).

The Erika I package provides an immediate response to shortcomings highlighted by the Erika accident. Firstly, it strengthened the existing Directive 95/21/EC on port State control with the adoption of Directive 2001/106/EC. Under the new measures, the inspection regime has been substantially reinforce in order to increase the number of ships subjected to expanded inspections and to ensure that ships which have been inspected and declared substandard on several occasions be blacklisted and refused access to EU ports. The first such list was published in the Official Journal on 25 July 2003. A second followed on 30 September 2004 listing all ships that were refused access to Community ports between 1 November 2003 and 31 August 2004. At the same time, as requested by the Commission, the European Maritime Safety Agency publishes on its website a regularly updated list of ships refused access to EU ports.

Secondly, with the adoption of Directive 2001/105/EC it strengthened the existing Directive 94/57/EC on classification societies which conduct structural safety checks on ships on behalf of flag States. The quality requirements for classification societies have been raised. Authorisation to operate within the EU is conditional on meeting these requirements. The performance of classification societies is also strictly monitored, and failure to meet the standards could result in penalties, i.e. temporary or permanent withdrawal of their Community authorisation.

Thirdly, with the adoption of Regulation (EC) N°417/2002, it set a timetable for phasing out single-hull oil tankers worldwide. Double-hull tankers offer better protection for the environment in the event of an accident. For this reason, the IMO had decided that all oil tankers built from 1996 on should have a double hull. However, the gradual replacement of single-hull by double-hull tankers was spread over a very long period, ending in 2026. The EU pushed for a faster phase-out and secured international acceptance for its position.

All three proposals have been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 19 December 2001 and entered into force on 22 July 2003.

The Erika II package completed the first package with three essential measures aiming at drastically improving maritime safety in European waters. Regulation (EC) 1406/2002 establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) responsible for improving enforcement of the EU rules on maritime safety entered into force in August 2002.

With the adoption Directive 2002/59/EC which entered into force on 5 February 2005 a surveillance and information system to improve vessel monitoring in European waters has been established. Ships sailing in EU waters have to be fitted with identification systems which automatically communicate with the coastal authorities, as well as voyage data recorders (black boxes) to facilitate accident investigation. The directive improves the procedures for exchanging data on dangerous cargoes and allows the competent authorities to prevent ships from setting sail in very bad weather. It also requires each maritime Member State to draw up contingency plans for accommodating ships in distress in places of refuge.

The Commission also proposed within the Erika II package a mechanism to improve compensation for victims of oil spills (COPE Fund) and, in particular, raise the upper limits on the amounts payable in the event of major oil spills in European waters to €1billion from the current ceiling of €236 million. The Council of Ministers has not yet seen fit to adopt this proposal and Member States preferred to refer the discussion to the IMO in order to obtain an agreement applicable worldwide. As a result, a Protocol to the FIPOL Convention, modelled on Europe’s COPE Fund, was adopted in May 2003 to create a supplementary fund. In future, the amount available for compensation for victims in the States covered by this new Fund will be €872 million for each accident occurring after the Protocol enters into force. The Protocol entered into force in 2005.



last update: 15-12-2008