EC moves on passenger safetyThe European Commission has proposed a new package of measures to reinforce passenger safety on ships.
Two proposals are aimed at preventing horrific accidents such as the Express Samina incident in 2000. One of these would increasing stability requirements for vessels. The other would reinforcing safety rules to cater for passengers with reduced mobility--particularly on high speed vessels.
The Commission also believes passenger protection should be strengthened through stricter liability rules when accidents do occur. These new proposals, announced in the Commission's new White Paper on Transport, complement a series of rules adopted in the late 1990's following the Estonia accident.In February 1996 in the aftermath of the Estonia disaster in the Baltic Sea, eight European States (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom) entered into the Stockholm Agreement to introduce specific stability requirements for ro-ro passenger ships
"There are still significant gaps between Member States in passenger ship safety rules," said Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President in charge of transport and energy. "Repeated occurrence of ferry accidents like the Express Samina, demonstrate that we need to urgently fill these gaps and ensure consistency between the rules that apply in the European Union, irrespective of the flag of the ship."
The new safety package for passenger ships proposed today by the Commission consists of three parts: