EU Shipping Law

Page 1260


Maritime safety: introduction and European Union measures relating to maritime safety generally

A. Introduction

26.001 Safety has become a central and critical component of European Union (“EU”) shipping law.1 It is, in some ways, not too surprising as there have been various significant and tragic maritime safety incidents in EU waters including the Herald of Free Enterprise, the Scandinavian Star, the Erika, the Prestige, the Betelgeuse and, in earlier times, the likes of the Torrey Canyon. Not only have these terrible events occurred but there was also a need for the EU to be seen to respond to these incidents in the interests of the EU, its citizens and the various interests involved (e.g. coastal and economic (e.g. aquaculture and tourism)). If the EU did nothing or very little, EU citizens could be quite unforgiving of the EU. If the EU said that it should do nothing because of the presence of the likes of the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”), it is quite likely that the EU’s citizenry and other interests would have been scathing about the EU because of its unwillingness to act and to introduce higher standards than might have been achievable in a near-global organisation such as the IMO which has to proceed at a slower pace than could be possible in a smaller and more agile organisation such as the EU. 26.002 There is a clear link between maritime safety and the maritime environment. A defect in safety can lead to a disaster in the environment. This chapter and the subsequent chapters on safety should be read in conjunction with the chapters on the environment. 26.003 In 2018, the European Commission described maritime safety in the following terms:

“Safety and Environment

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