The basis of the Community policy on maritime safety was established on 24 February 1993 in a Commission Communication entitled A common policy on safe seas (COM (93) 66 final).
This Community policy on maritime safety, prevention of marine pollution and living and working conditions on board of ships, takes account of the approach of international institutions such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Therefore, a number of measures were listed in the framework programme attached to the Commission Communication of 24 February 1993. These measures mainly aimed for the implementation and possible expansion of the standards established by these international organisations.
The programme included a series of legislative measures in a wide range of fields which relate to maritime safety and protection of the marine environment. The revision of Community legislation depends on the new rules that are approved at international level. These international rules are mostly technical and are regularly amended, because of the fast-moving technological developments in shipbuilding, equipment, navigation and communication.
Due to the technical nature of these rules, the Council basic legal acts, Regulations or Directives generally provide the possibility to implement these amendments through the so-called "Committee Procedure". These regulatory committees were set up under Decision 87/373/EEC of 13 July 1987 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission. As regards maritime safety, five specific committees were established. However, the procedure through the regulatory committees led to a lack of transparency and coordination. Early 1993, the need to integrate these five committees into one committee was acknowledged.
This integration was accomplished by Regulation (EC) Nr. 2099/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 November 2002 establishing a Committee on Safe Seas and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (COSS) and amending Directives on maritime safety and prevention of on pollution from ships (PFS-001).
The aim of this Regulation was to develop the implementation of Community legislation on maritime safety, prevention of pollution from ships and the protection of shipboard living and working conditions:
- By establishing a Committee on Safe Seas and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (COSS), which centralises the tasks of the committees established under the relevant Community legislation on maritime safety;
- By accelerating the revision and facilitating the amendment of such legislation.
On 5 March 2003, the Commission adopted a new proposal to counter pollution caused by ships. On 7 September 2005, Directive 2005/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on ship source pollution and the introduction of penalties for infringements was approved (PFS-002).
Some relevant documents:
PFS-002: Directive 2005/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements (European Parliament and the Council)
PFS-001: Regulation (EC) No 2099/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 November 2002 establishing a Committee on Safe Seas and the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (COSS) and amending the Regulations on maritime safety and the prevention of pollution from ships (European Parliament and the Council)