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Monday, 13 September 2010

Maritime safety: new EU rules to 'name and shame'

New rules to enhance and improve the safety performance of ships were adopted today by the European Commission. The rules will introduce, from January 1st 2011, a new online register to "to name and shame" shipping companies which are performing poorly on vital safety inspections (port state controls), while those with strong safety records will be given good public visibility. Port state controls are crucial for preventing shipping disasters and the tragic loss of life and huge environmental damage that can result. Companies and states which show up as poorly performing will be subject to more intensive, co-ordinated inspections in EU ports. Manufacturers or other industries will be able to choose the shipping companies they use for freight or passengers in full knowledge of their safety record. Vice-president Sim Kallas, responsible for Transport, said: "Safety is the first priority for EU. We have seen the devastating effects of maritime disasters like the sinking of the ferry Estonia or the Erika or Prestige in terms of tragic loss of life and massive environmental damage. As ever I am strongly convinced about the power of transparency. We want to shine a light on the safety records of shipping companies, flag states and certification organisations. More transparency in this sector will showcase companies with a strong safety records giving them a competitive advantage. The register will also put poor performers in their spotlight so that with tougher inspection regimes and public pressure there is every incentive for them to raise their game rather than face a ban from EU waters."

Source: European Commission