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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE EU

The “Erika I-package” moved closer to final adoption yesterday when the European Parliament’s Plenary meeting endorsed the amendments proposed by the Parliament’s transport committee. The second package of proposals will be formally tabled by the Commission next week.

THE FIRST THREE ERIKA PROPOSALS

The formal adoption of the three proposals labelled the "Erika I-package”, which contains amendments to the existing EU directives on port state control and classification societies on the one hand as well as the proposed new scheme for faster phasing out of single hull tankers in European trades on the other, moved closer to final adoption yesterday when the European Parliament's Plenary meeting endorsed the amendments proposed by the Parliament’s transport committee.

There are several issues on this list of amendments which are bound to create difficulties in the further process of reaching a necessary common view between the Commission, the Member States (the Council) and the Parliament.  These include issues such as the Parliament’s proposal to introduce retrofitting of VDRs as a mandatory requirement in European waters and to ban vessels from European ports if they continue to fly the flag of registers listed on the Paris MOU's "black list".  There are also difficulties related to directive on classification societies where the Parliament is less inclined to introduce unlimited liability for classification societies in their statutory work  than the Council.  On the issue of phasing out, however, there now seems to be only minor disagreement since all parties wish to base any EU legislation on the proposed amendments to the MARPOL Convention (based on 2015 in the case of the Parliament text), whereas the Council might prefer to keep some flexibility on this point ahead of the final round of talks at the MEPC next April.

The Parliament's proposals will now have to be considered by the Commission and the Member States ahead of the Council of transport ministers due on the 22 of December and INTERTANKO is together with other organisations looking into how best to react to this situation.

THE SECOND PACKAGE OF ERIKA PROPOSALS

The second package of Erika proposals: a proposed third layer of compensation for oil spills in European waters, a European Maritime safety agency and a proposal for a European reporting and monitoring system for transport of dangerous cargo at sea, will be formally tabled by the Commission next week.  This second wave of proposals is also expected to contain some form of proposal to introduce the possibility for ports to prevent vessels leaving under particularly harsh weather conditions.