The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) held a meeting of the Ports Working Group on 20 February 2002 in Brussels to consider the current draft amended European Commission Directive on Market Access to Port Services – with particular regard to Pilotage.

In addition to the INTERTANKO representative the meeting was attended by delegates from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK, and hosted by ECSA.

As reported by INTERTANKO in the Weekly NEWS of 14 September 2001, the European Parliament previously proposed an amended draft directive that effectively removed pilotage from the Directive on Market Access. Prior to that INTERTANKO had raised its concerns that pilotage was a safety service, and if it were to be included in the directive, particular measures needed to be in place to ensure that the Port Authority could continue to function in its strategic role of promoting safety.

However, since the parliamentary proposal to remove it from the directive, pilotage is now back on the table as an EC proposal again. It was primarily for this reason that INTERTANKO attended the ECSA meeting on 20 February– not to object to this fact per se but to ensure that IF pilotage were retained, that there would be sufficient and adequate safeguards in place to ensure that safety remained paramount.

The European Commission issued an explanatory memorandum COM(2001) 35 Final which explained why they felt pilotage should be included in the directive, as follows:

The amendments excluding pilotage from the scope of the directive are not acceptable. Pilotage is a service of commercial value to which the treaty rules apply. However the commission is aware of the particular safety concerns which it believes, however to be addressed adequately in the proposal giving every competent authority the right to access the safety situation and requirements in accordance with local specificities and to draw the appropriate conclusions with regard to a possible limitation of the number of service providers. The Commission believes that there are always ways to ensure safety without having to perpetuate current practices with often unnecessarily increase shipping costs

The time frame for this directive is to try and achieve a common position for adoption in December 2002.

Although INTERTANKO supports the basic principles of the Commission’s proposal on market access to port services, INTERTANKO submitted comments to the meeting regarding the safeguards that needed to be in place IF it was decided to retain pilotage within the Directive.

Click here to download a copy of our submission to the EU

A long and comprehensive discussion ensued, from which it emerged that there was a majority of support for the inclusion of pilotage in the Directive, in order primarily to:

  1. Reduce pilotage and thus port costs
  2. Increase the availability of pilotage Exemptions certificates

INTERTANKO stated that although it clearly did not oppose the above points 1. and 2. and supported the logic behind them, its prime objective was to ensure that the pilotage service provided was safe.

ESPO (The European Sea Ports Organisation) submitted proposed amendments to the Revised text that clearly supported the inclusion of pilotage and the view that the term ‘self handling’ should include pilotage exemption certificates.

In the course of a protracted debate, INTERTANKO was successful, we believe, in conveying our points to the group. The conclusion was that ECSA would draft a suitable text regarding pilotage that incorporated the views expressed by INTERTANKO regarding the safeguards whilst taking into account the comments made by ESPO. We will review this draft and comment upon it before it is submitted to the Commission, which is anticipated within the next two weeks.

Contact: Capt. Howard Snaith,