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Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Round Table of international maritime associations says it is time for the EU Commission and its Members States to deliver in respect of concrete measures on places of refuge

The Round Table of international maritime associations (BIMCO, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Intercargo and INTERTANKO) wish to remind the European Union and its Member States on their duty to deliver detailed contingency plans and measures for Places of Refuge in their respective coastal waters to assist ships in distress.

The Round Table members have on several occasions, both jointly and individually, requested the European Union and its politicians to pay urgent attention to this extremely important issue to ensure the safety of crews at sea and protect the environment.

The Round Table of international maritime associations addressed this issue in December, 2002, when a letter was written to the President of the European Union, at that time the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, on the occasion of the Meeting of the European Council in Copenhagen, 12th to 13th December, 2002.   The letter was then passed on to Mr. George Anomeritis, President of the EU Maritime Transport Ministers’ Council, when Greece took over the Presidency of the European Union in January of this year. 

The Round Table representing approximately 90 % of the international shipping industry has duly noted that the European Council has called on their Members to establish contingency plans for the identification of Places of Refuge for ships in distress not later than 1st July, 2003.

In his draft report to the European Parliament on “Improving Safety at Sea in Response to the Prestige Accident (2003/2066 (INI))”, dated 26th May and presented 12th June, 2003, the EU appointed rapporteur, Dirk Sterckx, MEP, provides a number of vital recommendations on the issue of Places of Refuge/Safe Haven for Ships in Distress.   Among the many it is worth listing a few:

“The European Council has called upon Member States to have such Contingency Plans in readiness not later than 1st July, 2003.”  

“The first priority (for a European Parliament) MUST be to negotiate adequately for arrangement to accommodate vessels in distress and the availability and accessibility of safe havens and harbours.”

“The European Parliament insists that each Member State must have at its disposal a clear decision making structure and chain of command for maritime emergencies, together with an independent authority, that in turn has at its disposal the necessary judicial and financial say in taking decisions having binding effect in emergencies within territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone.”

Mr. Sterckx, in his proposals, makes it clear that “he attaches fundamental importance to having the E.U. Member State implement such plans and arrangement in good time and in full.”

“The European Council has called upon Member States to have such Contingency Plans in readiness not later than 1st July, 2003.”

The Round Table of international maritime associations commends these comments and supports the actions proposed.

Time is of the essence – this is the European Union’s and their Member States’ duty to the Shipping Industry.   The deadline is imminent – it is now time for the EU and its Member States to deliver.

Note for Editors

The Round Table of international maritime associations is comprised of BIMCO, ICS - The International Chamber of Shipping, Intercargo - The International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners and Intertanko - The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners.

For further information

Please contact :


Peter Grube

Tel : +45 44 36 6800  Fax : +45 44 36 6868


Simon Bennett

Tel : +44 20 7417 2857   Fax : +44 20 7417 8877


Rob Lomas

Tel : +44 20 7638 3989   Fax : +44 20 7638 3943


Sally Woulfe

Tel : +44 20 7623 4311  Fax : +44 20 7626 7078