Select Committee on European Scrutiny Eighth Report


SHIP INSPECTION AND SAFETY, POLLUTION PREVENTION AND DOUBLE HULLS


(a)
(21146)
7245/00
COM(00) 142




















(b)
21985)
14722/00
COM(00) 850



(c)
(21986)
14723/00
COM (00) 849

(d)
(21987)
14724/00
COM (00) 848

Commission Communication on the safety of the seaborne
oil trade, including:

(a)
A Draft Directive amending Directive 95/21/EC concerning
the enforcement, in respect of shipping using Community
ports and sailing in the waters under the jurisdiction of the
Member States, of international standards for ship safety,
pollution prevention and ship board living and working
conditions (port State control);

(b)
A Draft Directive amending Directive 94/57/EC on common
rules and standards for ship inspection and survey
organisations and for the relevant activities of maritime
administrations;

(c)
A Draft Regulation on the accelerated phasing-in of the
double hull or equivalent design requirements for single hull
oil tankers.


Amended Draft Directive amending Directive 95/21/EC
concerning the enforcement, in respect of shipping using
Community ports and sailing in the waters under the
jurisdiction of the Member States, of international standards
for ship safety, pollution prevention and ship board living
and working conditions (port State control).


Amended Draft Directive amending Directive 94/57/EC on
common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey
organisations and for the relevant activities of maritime
administrations.


Amended Draft Regulation on accelerated phasing-in of
double hull or equivalent design requirements for single hull
tankers.


Legal base: Article 80(2) EC; co-decision; qualified majority voting
Document originated: (b) 21 December 2000
(c) 12 December 2000
(d) 12 December 2000
Forwarded to the Council: (b) 10 January 2001
(c) 14 December 2000
(d) 14 December 2000
Deposited in Parliament: (b)-(d) 17 January 2001
Department: Environment, Transport and the Regions
Basis of consideration: EM of 1 February 2001
Previous Committee Report: HC 23-xviii (1999-2000), paragraph 5 (17 May 2000), HC 23-xxiii (1999-2000), paragraph 5 (28 June 2000), and HC 23-xxix (1999-2000), paragraph 6 (15 November 2000)
To be discussed in Council: April 2001
Committee's assessment: Legally and politically important
Committee's decision: (All) Cleared (decision on document (a), parts (a) and (b) reported 17 on May 2000)

Background

  12.1  In March 2000, the Commission produced two draft Directives and one draft Regulation on ship safety, pollution prevention and the accelerated introduction of double hulls, in response to the Erika oil tanker disaster of December 1999. The Erika, a 25 year old, Maltese-registered, single hull oil tanker broke in two off the southern tip of Brittany. Great environmental damage was caused when more than 10,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil were spilt. About 400 kilometres of coastline were polluted causing serious damage to fauna, flora, fisheries and tourism, as well as potential public health consequences.

  12.2  In our Report of 17 May 2000, we cleared the proposals relating to port State control and classification societies (private sector organisations to which flag states, including the UK, delegate some ship inspection functions). However, we left uncleared the draft Regulation relating to the accelerated phasing in of double hull ships or equivalent design requirements for single hull ships. We received a Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum on the draft Regulation on 1 November, but decided to leave the document uncleared on 15 November, awaiting information on progress.

The documents

  12.3  The documents now before us include three new documents that take account of amendments proposed by the European Parliament (EP):

    —  Amended Proposal for Directive on ship safety, pollution prevention (port State control)

      The EP proposes a number of largely technical amendments, which have the effect of making the Commission's original proposal more strict. For example, under the EP's amendment, the age of the ship will not be the decisive factor when deciding which to select for port State control. The EP also proposes to ban from Community ports all ships not fitted with Voyage Data Recorders (VDRs) and to detain those ships found without. Although the use of VDRs would aid accident investigations, their fitting is not compulsory under international law.

      The EP also proposes to ban from Community ports all ships flying "black listed flags", which are those flags that have above average detention records, and to call for the banning of such ships from EU territorial waters.

    —  Amended Proposal for Directive on common rules and standards for ship inspections

      The EP proposes a number of linguistic and more substantive amendments which, according to the Government, would have the effect of broadening the scope of the Directive to include work undertaken by classification societies when performing non-statutory work (i.e. acting on behalf of the flag State) and removing from the flag State the responsibility for assessing the performance of the societies authorised to act on its behalf.

    —  Amended Proposal for Directive on accelerated phasing in of double hull or equivalent design requirements for single hull tankers

      The EP's substantive amendments exclude small tankers below 3,000 tons deadweight (dwt) from the accelerated phasing in of double hull tankers and reject differential port charging.[32]

The Government's view

    —  Amended Proposal for Directive on ship safety, pollution prevention (port State control)

      The Government supports this amended proposal on the grounds that sub-standard ships pose a threat regardless of their age. The Government also supports the fitting of VDRs and, as a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), is calling for the fitting of VDRs to all ships above a certain size. The Government says that the IMO has made progress, although there are some technical problems to be resolved as regards fitting VDRs to existing ships.

      The Government gives three arguments against the European Parliament's proposed general ban on ships with the blacklisted flags: it breaches the Law of the Sea and the rights of innocent passage; fails to take any account of the quality of the individual ship; and goes beyond the scope of the measure intended to improve port State control.

    —  Amended Proposal for Directive on common rules and standards for ship inspections

      The Commission and Council have rejected a number of linguistic changes made by the EP on the grounds that they are confusing and at odds with recognised terms. In addition, the Commission and Council have rejected more substantive amendments, which in the view of the UK Government would have the unwelcome effect of broadening the scope of the Directive to include work undertaken by classification societies when performing non-statutory work and removing from the flag State the responsibility for assessing the performance of the societies authorised to act on its behalf. In the Government's view, the EP's substantive amendments reflect a degree of misunderstanding of the role of classification societies.

    —  Amended Proposal for Directive on accelerated phasing in of double hull or equivalent design requirements for single hull tankers

      The Government and other Member States share the EP's concern over the original proposal to include small tankers and to introduce differential port charging in favour of double hull tankers. The UK ports industry is also strongly opposed to differential port charging.

Conclusion

  12.4  According to the Minister, an accommodation on the two draft Directives is expected to be reached between the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament.

  12.5  As regards the Regulation on the accelerated phasing-in of double hull ships, the earlier draft has now been superseded by the amended draft Regulation. The Minister tells us that he expects a satisfactory outcome to be achieved in April without the need for a formal conciliation process, followed by the Transport Council agreeing the Regulation in June. We have no further questions to ask and now clear all the documents.



32  Differential port charging is a financial incentive that seeks to encourage the use of double hull tankers. In short, double hull tankers would see reductions in port and pilotage dues whereas single hull oil tankers would be discouraged by the increase in these dues in line with ship age.  Back


 
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