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Displaying items by tag: Agreement (provisional)

The European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional political agreement on amending the current legislation in order to improve stability requirements for roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) passenger ships.

The amended directive will play an important part in ensuring the safety of these vessels in the EU, in accordance with the new international standards in the field (SOLAS Convention).

‘Ro-ro’ passenger ships provide numerous maritime links within member states, between member states and with third countries. They are therefore of major importance to passenger and freight transport in Europe. The revised directive is also a direct consequence of one of the worst maritime accidents in European waters, the sinking of the ‘Estonia’ in 1994.

The new legislation ensures, as far as possible, consistency with international standards for the stability of damaged passenger ships, which were recently updated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) under the 2020 International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention).

The IMO is introducing a new model for assessing the survivability of damaged ro-ro passenger ships, as well as new related requirements. However, these new international standards appear to be insufficient in the light of the requirements already in force in the Union for new small vessels, which is why the new law maintains a level of safety requirements equivalent to existing Union law for those ships.

The revised directive also aims to strengthen fleet entry requirements within the Union for existing large vessels that have not yet been certified in the Union. The text of the provisional political agreement maintains the general purpose of the initial Commission proposal, with the exception of the extension of the transposition deadline from 12 to 18 months.

Next Steps

Today’s provisional political agreement is now subject to approval by the two co-legislators. On the Council side, the Czech presidency intends to submit the agreement to the member states’ representatives (Coreper) as soon as possible with a view to its formal approval by the Council.

To dowload the Commission proposal, click here for further links.   

Also available here is the Directive 2003/25/EU.

Published in Ferry

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!