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Passenger ship safety rules and standards: agreement with the Parliament

The presidency yesterday reached an informal agreement with the European Parliament on a revised directive on passenger ship safety rules and standards, which clarifies and simplifies the current technical rules so that they are easier to update, monitor and enforce.

This 'general' directive on passenger ship safety rules and standards contains the most extensive rules on passenger ship safety in the EU, applicable to vessels travelling on domestic routes. The directive sets out detailed technical requirements for ships in areas such as construction, stability and fire protection. It applies to ships made of steel or equivalent material, and thus covers most modern passenger ships.

The new rules leave small ships (under 24 metres) to be regulated at national level, reflecting the fact that these ships are more sensitive to local operating conditions and in general present a lower risk.

"The clear set of technical rules agreed yesterday will contribute to improved safety, while introducing an appropriate degree of proportionality. In fact, national rules work better for small ships, as they can take better account of local circumstances", said Ian Borg, the Maltese Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects.

Member states will have two years from the directive's entry into force to incorporate the new provisions into their national legislation.

The draft directive agreed yesterday is part of a comprehensive review of passenger ship safety, which aims to make travelling by sea safer while simplifying the rules and cutting administrative costs.

The presidency will submit the outcome of yesterday's negotiations for endorsement by member states in the coming weeks.

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