Mobility and Transport


Public consultation on a review of EU passenger ship safety legislation

Public consultation on a review of EU passenger ship safety legislation

Public consultation on a review of EU passenger ship safety legislation
Consultation period: 

Public consultation on a review of EU passenger ship safety legislation

Consultation period: 13/04/2012 - 5/07/2012


Objectives of the consultation

The first set of questions relate to the main objective, namely, to identify and address within the current Directive 2009/45/EC on rules and standards for passenger ship safety any provisions that may need to be reviewed or updated and which lead to inefficiencies in the EU internal market for ships or maritime passenger services.

There is a second set of questions, for which the Commission's services seek stakeholder opinions, primarily from those with experience in the maritime field. Following the recent Costa Concordia cruise ship accident, some issues have been raised specifically addressing larger passenger ships. The Commission would like to use the opportunity of this consultation already planned as part of the review of the European legislation on passenger ship safety, to obtain stakeholder views on current arrangements.

Target groups

All citizens and organizations are welcome to contribute to this consultation. In particular, views are sought from ship owners; ship builders; classification societies; seafarers; regulators at international, national, regional and local level; and passenger representatives. At the same time as this general public consultation, two parallel consultations are also being undertaken:

  • with all Member State maritime administrations; and
  • a targeted consultation of all stakeholders in six Member States: Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Current regulatory framework

The safety of passenger ships is regulated at three levels: through International Conventions to which Member States are party (e.g., SOLAS), EU acquis and national law. EU acquis is piecemeal and is found in several different legislative instruments (see the reference documents below).

The rationale behind the main passenger ship safety directive, Directive 2009/45/EC (the former Directive 98/18/EC, now consolidated and codified as Directive 2009/45/EC, recently amended by Directive 2010/36/EU), is that persons using passenger ships and high speed passenger craft throughout the EU should have the right to expect and rely on an appropriate level of safety on board. The Directive thus aims to set out a common set of safety standards for domestic ships to maintain a common high level of safety and remove potential barriers to the transfer of ships between Member States and the operation of ships in Member State domestic waters (see Reference documents below).

International safety standards for most types of passenger vessels operating on international voyages are normally developed by the IMO under the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Convention.

Context of this consultation

The 2011 White Paper for the future of transport – “Road map to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system” recognizes the need to modernize the existing EU passenger ship safety legislation.

In 2010 the Commission had already started the process by undertaking a review of the main Directive, 2009/45/EC, and initiated an ongoing consultation with the Member States competent authorities to identify problems and challenges in its implementation. Based on this process, the Commission examined the problems raised, to identify the main issues and underlying causes and from there to reconsider alternative policy options.

Currently Directive 2009/45/EC sets safety standards for all passenger ships made out of steel engaged in domestic voyages. While there are different levels of safety requirements dependent on the sea area within which the ship operates, the Directive's standards, derived from international standards, might not be suitable for smaller ships. It is also a fact that the majority of ships operating in domestic waters are made out materials other than steel, such as Glass Reinforced Plastic. In addition, for certain categories of ship, there is no common regulatory framework: e.g., sailing ships, historic ships, vessels carrying offshore workers, cruise ship tenders.

The aim of this public consultation is to verify the accuracy of the problems identified, and to what extent stakeholders opinions are in line with and support the objectives and policy measures envisaged.

The consultation feeds into an ongoing impact assessment of alternative options for revised passenger safety regulation. It is planned to hold a stakeholder workshop at the end of the consultation to set out the results of the consultation process.

Practical information

The consultation is being launched in an electronic form through the interactive policy-making tool. Interested parties are invited to send their comments, suggestions and replies to the questionnaire to the Commission services between 13/04/2012 and 5/07/2012.

All citizens, organisations, and public authorities interested or involved in passenger ship safety are welcome to respond to the public consultation.

Contributions received in reply to the consultation will be handled by a consultant and used by the Commission services. A summary of the consultation's results will be published on the Commission's website. If you do not wish your contribution to be made public, please indicate this in your reply. In that case, your reply will also not be mentioned in future documents that may refer to this consultation.

This is an anonymous survey, and therefore, you are not obliged to give any personal details and the rules on personal data protection apply .

If you are replying on behalf of an organisation, please indicate the exact name of the organisation, the department and the contact email. This information will not be made public or used for any other purpose than to facilitate this survey.

As part of the European Transparency Initiative, organisations are invited to use the Register of interest representatives to provide the European Commission and the public at large with information about their objectives, funding and structures. If you are not registered yet in this register, please visit:

Please note that this document has been drafted for information and consultation purposes only. It has not been adopted or in any way approved by the European Commission and should not be regarded as representing the view of the Commission. It does not prejudge, or constitute the announcement of any position on the part of the Commission on the issues covered. The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.

Important advice for filling-in the questionnaire

Please be aware that if interrupted or left inactive for 90 minutes, your contribution will not be saved. You are strongly advised to prepare your contribution in advance before filling-in the questionnaire online. We recommend you download the electronic version of the questionnaire , to allow you to draft your answers to the open text questions carefully. After preparing all your answers, please open the online questionnaire and fill it out. As part of the questionnaire, a Microsoft Excel worksheet should be filled out. We would encourage stakeholders to respond as soon as possible in order to help the ongoing impact assessment.

Questions are either compulsory or optional. If any of the compulsory fields have not been filled in, the system will not allow you to submit the questionnaire but will redirect you to the incomplete answer and give you an opportunity to correct it. An error message will appear in a purple/red colour under the question in which a problem occurred.

Please note that you should not use the ‘Back’ button in the upper left-hand corner of the screen of your browser to navigate the online questionnaire, because this will lead to a loss of all the data that you have already inserted. For navigation, you should use the buttons ‘Next’ and ‘Previous’ at the bottom of the questionnaire page instead.

When you successfully submit the questionnaire, a confirmation message will appear on your screen and you can print your answers.

Contributions may be submitted in any official EU language.

Contact details

European Commission - Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE)
Unit D.2 – Maritime safety
Rue de Mot 28 03/66
B - 1049 Brussels