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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Informal Transport Council seeks ways to improve the image of shipping and seafaring

The Ministers approved a working document prepared by the Greek Presidency that called for improvements in the EU fleet’s competitiveness and its ability to attract quality vessels to community registers and young people to work at sea.

At the Informal Transport Council meeting on 16-18 May the EU Transport Ministers discussed ways to improve the image of shipping and the seafaring profession. The Ministers approved a working document prepared by the Greek Presidency that called for improvements in the EU fleet’s competitiveness and its ability to attract quality vessels to community registers and young people to work at sea.

The working document re-launches the debate started by a 2001 Communication on the training and recruitment of seafarers. In that Communication, the Commission noted the decline in EU seafarers and analysed the reasons, the possible implications for EU shipping, and the measures necessary to reverse the trend.  It addressed the educational, social, and financial issues of recruiting.  The 2001 Communication was followed by a proposal for a Directive on the standards and certificates of training that is currently going through the legislative process.

Its overall objective is to increase the mobility of Community seafarers.

The Greek Presidency’s proposed measures include promoting European maritime heritage through the establishment of NationalMaritimeMuseums and a “European Day for Shipping and Seafarers”. They also want to see the promotion of MarineAcademies and the Maritime Education and Training system all over Europe. Particular emphasis should be placed on the fact that the system is free and the age limit for admission to the Marine Academies should be raised, they argue.

This working document may be the starting point for new proposals from the Commission that would further develop European maritime education. However, such steps will probably not be taken before 2004.

During the Informal Council, the EU Ministers also approved the “Patmos Declaration” in which they reiterated their commitment to implementing EU maritime safety legislation proposed after Erika and Prestige and to create a coherent and integrated marine environmental protection and control system as proposed in the 2002 Commission Communication on a Common Marine Strategy.

They also stressed the necessity for the European Community to play an active role in the IMO.