EU Guidelines on Places of Refuge

Tuesday, 8th March 2016

“European Union Member States supported by industry stakeholders have recently agreed EU-wide Operational Guidelines on places of refuge for ships in need of assistance. The Guidelines supplement IMO Resolution A.949 [link] and should assist Government officials, port authorities, shipowners, their insurers and salvors by expediting the safe and environmentally sensitive handling of ships seeking a place of refuge. The International Group and its sister industry bodies, including the International Chamber of Shipping, International Union of Marine Insurers and International Salvage Union have played a significant role in the development of the Guidelines, which have benefited from extensive industry input and a collaborative approach to policy making by the European Commission and Member States.

The Guidelines complement existing EU legislation established in the Vessel Traffic Monitoring Directive and introduce a principle for EU Member States ‘there should be no rejection without inspection’. It is anticipated that the Guidelines will encourage States to carry out a meaningful risk assessment of a casualty before deciding to reject entry to a port or safe haven in its jurisdiction. The Guidelines will be kept under review and the International Group will continue to be engaged in their future refinement or amendment.”