The Directive ‘establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system and repealing Council Directive 93/75/EEC’ (MON-001) was formulated to improve safety and prevention of pollution by ships. Member States had to make the necessary legal and administrative provisions to make sure that the Directive could come into effect on 5 February 2004.
Apart from some exceptions (war vessels, small fishing crafts, etc.), the Directive is applicable on all sea-going vessels over 300 tonnes. The most essential elements of the Directive are:
- The custom of notification on arrival becomes mandatory.
- Ships entering an area where the authorities use a system approved by the IMO have to give the information required by this system.
- Ships entering an area under the supervision of traffic control have to be equipped with an IMO approved routing system and have to use the services of traffic control. Member States have to make sure that these entities have enough personnel and the required technical means to fulfil their tasks.
- Every ship entering a port of the Union has to be equipped with a transponder (Automatic Identification) that complies with IMO-standards. It will be possible to identify the ship and follow its journey along the European coast. Member States have to equip their coast guard with an appropriate receiver.
- Every ship entering a port of the Union has to, in accordance with the Annex II timeline, be equipped with a voyage data recorder (black box).
- Certain data on ship and on cargo have to be notified to the port of departure in the Union. The Member States have to cooperate to make sure that their national information system can be connected to others and that it is interoperable.
- In case of extremely bad weather and rough seas, with a high pollution risk for the sea and the coastal areas, the relevant Member State has to take the necessary actions to prevent ships from leaving the port.
- Member States make the necessary arrangements to ensure that there is enough space to welcome ships in distress (places of refuge).
In 2005, the European Commission announced more legislative initiatives in the context of the Erika III package. The revision of the Monitoring Directive of 2002 was part of these. This revision happened in the light of operational and technical developments in the shipping world, namely in the area of the identification and tracking systems for shipping and satellite technologies.
On 23 April 2009, Parliament and Council agreed on Directive 2009/17/EC amending Directive 2002/59/EC establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system. The new Directive also tightened the rules on places of refuge. The incident with the MSC Flaminia in July 2012 however demonstrated that ships in distress still have difficulty in finding safe accommodation. Parliament therefore called upon the Commission to address in particular the coordination and cooperation between Member States. This is likely to happen in the next revision of the Directive, which is scheduled for 2013 or 2014.
Some relevant documents:
MON-001: Directive 2002/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2002 establishing a Community vessel traffic monitoring and information system and repealing Council Directive 93/75/EEC (European Parliament and the Council)