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Presidency secures agreement on measures to ensure safety of EU's seafarers

10.04.2013, 13:30 GMT

Intense negotiations with European Parliament yield agreement on EU commitments under the Martime Labour Convention

The Irish Presidency has secured agreement with the European Parliament on a new Port State Control Directive following intensive negotiations. This Directive is part of a package which will ensure the EU fullfills its commitments under the Martime Labour Convention which sets out the minimum requirements for seafarers to work on board a ship. The agreement reached today with the European Parliament requires final approval of Members States through the Committee of Permanent Representatives.   
According to Minister Varadkar - who chairs the Transport Council of Ministers for the 6 months of the Presidency, "This is an important measure in ensuring the safety and security of seafarers who work in the EU's maritime sector. As an island with a strong maritime tradition, it is key to Ireland's interests to support these goals and improve the conditions of all those working in this vital economic sector".   

Note to editors:

The coastline of the European Union is many thousands of kilometres in length and contains well over 1 000 individual ports. These handle around 90% of EU external trade and around 40% of trade between EU countries. This involves handling 3.5 billion tonnes of goods and 350 million passengers being transported on millions of ship journeys each year.
Consequently, it is vital that EU maritime transport operates in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly way. In support of these goals, and in addition to the systems and procedures in place in each country, the EU sets legislation to ensure that there is effective inspection of ships in EU ports and, thereby, to ensure that ships sailing in EU waters have been appropriately constructed and maintained.
The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2006,  sets out the minimum requirements for seafarers to work on board a ship (title I of the MLC), conditions of employment (title II), accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering (title III), health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection (title IV) and compliance and enforcement (title V).  It represent the first comprehensive maritime labour code for more than 1.2 million seafarers worldwide.  The ILO received the 30th ratification of the MLC on 20 August 2012, enabling it to go into effect a year later.
On 23 March, the European Commission adopted two proposals looking to ensure the enforcement of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) within the EU. The purpose of these proposals is to clarify the responsibilities of port states and flag states regarding an effective application of the maritime labour standards defined in the MLC.
The Port State Directive - which has now been agreed with the European Parliament -  amends a previous 2009 directive in order to integrate the MLC requirements related to Port State Control into EU legislation. Among other things, the proposal suggests to include the Maritime Labour Certificate and the Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance in the documents to be checked by Port State inspectors, and to extended the scope of investigation to complaints related to MLC matters.
The Flag State Directive is still under negotiation with the European Parliament. This proposal aims to lay down a number of provisions to monitor the application of certain parts of Title V of the MLC related to the responsibility of the Flag State. In particular, the proposal requires that Member States establish the appropriate monitoring mechanisms and carry out adequate inspections to ensure that ships flying their flags are in compliance with the MLC requirements, as set out in Directive 2009/13/EC

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picture of Marcella Smyth, Spokesperson (Coreper I)
Permanent Representation Brussels

Marcella Smyth, Spokesperson (Coreper I) Permanent Representation Brussels




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