Ships in Need of Assistance seeking a Place of Refuge
Against the background of past maritime accidents in European waters, the VTMIS Directive includes a number of provisions concerning ships in need of assistance seeking a place of refuge. The Directive builds on the IMO-Guidelines on places of refuge, and establishes obligations for the different parties involved in such incidents.
In the aftermath of the MSC Flaminia incident, an expert group on EU level was established in 2013 under the chairmanship of the Commission comprising all EU Member States. This group developed EU Operational Guidelines to complement national plans and apply to situations where it is likely that more than one State may become involved, or where the incident falls outside the jurisdiction of any Member State.
The EU Operational Guidelines were drafted in a common effort including EU Member States, and several industry stakeholders including IUMI, with the support of the Commission and EMSA. They aim at a robust operational process leading to well-advised and, where possible, quicker decision making. At the same time, they should contribute to promoting positive attitudes – within Governments, authorities, and the industry – for the purposes of Places of Refuge. The final guidelines were published in January 2016 and can be found here. To underline the cooperation between EU member states and maritime industry stakeholders a Joint Declaration of EU and industry stakeholders including IUMI was published on 27 January 2016 and can be found here.
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