EU Shipping Law

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Ports: reporting formalities for ships in European Union ports: Directive 2010/65

A. Introduction

44.001 It would help if the formalities for ships using European Union (“EU”) ports were streamlined, simplified and harmonised.1 Such a scenario would facilitate trade, harmonise procedures, increase predictability, reduce costs and hence improve compliance with law. It would also mean that a common minimum amount of information would be obtained by Member States and, in turn, the EU. The EU has therefore adopted a directive2 aimed at simplifying and harmonising the administrative procedures applicable to maritime transport. The directive establishes a regime for the standard electronic transmission of information and the rationalisation of reporting formalities for ships arriving in, and departing from, EU ports.3 44.002 On 20 October 2010, the Parliament and Council adopted Directive 2010/65 on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States and repealing Directive 2002/6.4 It is sometimes known as the “RFD” – the acronym for Reporting Formalities Directive. 44.003 Directive 2010/65 had not been the first measure on the topic and in fact it repealed Directive 2002/65 with effect from 19 May 2012. Indeed, there are (or have been) several measures in EU law dealing with various issues including notification

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requirements for ships arriving in/departing from ports of Member States (i.e. Article 4 of Directive 2002/59),6 border checks on persons (i.e. Article 7 of Regulation 562/2006),7 notification of dangerous or polluting goods carried on board (i.e. Article 13 of Directive 2002/59),8 notification of ship waste and cargo residues (i.e. Article 6 of Directive 2000/59),9 notification of security information (i.e. Article 6 of Regulation 725/2004) and entry summary declaration (i.e. Article 36a of Community Customs Code).10 44.004 Having a unified system on port formalities is very desirable. One has to be sure that reporting requirements, particularly linguistic requirements, should not be an obstacle to the free movement of goods or services (particularly, cabotage services); as recital 19 to Directive 2010/65 provides:

“[n]ational language requirements are often an obstacle to the development of the coastal shipping network. The Member States should make all possible efforts to facilitate written and oral communication in maritime traffic between Member States, in accordance with international practice, with a view to finding common means of communication.”

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