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EU Sends Letter To Member States Failing To Comply To Marine Laws

by Philip Morton, Investors

03 December 2007

The European Commission announced late last week that it has sent letters of formal notice to 11 Member States for failing to notify the Commission of the measures they have taken to transpose into their national law the directive on the recognition of seafarers' certificates.

The Member States concerned are: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Speaking with regard to the legislation, the EC explained that:

"In acknowledgement of the growing hardship affecting seafarers in many Member States since the 1980s, this directive for the first time introduces the automatic recognition of national certificates. It thereby aims to facilitate the mobility of Community seafarers between Member States."

"It has three main objectives: It provides for a careful and efficient procedure for the recognition by Member States of seafarers' certificates issued in the EU in accordance with existing Community provisions. The directive provides for a regular audit of the national marine training and certification systems to ensure that the Member States fully respect existing standards of training and certification. Lastly, it requires the Member States to put additional measures in place to prevent and combat fraudulent practices surrounding obtaining and issuing certificates."

This decision came in the same week as the EC announced that it would be sending reasoned opinions to Estonia, Malta, Spain and the United Kingdom for failing to transpose the European rules on enhancing port security into their national law. Sending a reasoned opinion constitutes the last stage before possible referral to the Court of Justice.

The aim of that Directive was to establish a Community framework for the security of all port areas, which would therefore supplement the measures already in place since 2004 for ships and port facilities.

It also set out common basic rules for measures designed to prevent deliberate unlawful acts against ports and their various components, as well as providing for mechanisms for implementing these measures and checking their conformity.

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