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Ship Safety Standards

The monitoring of the work of IMO in the field of ship safety standards, including the reporting on developments in the relevant international legislation is part of the agency tasks. This task entails technical evaluation of IMO submissions and technical assistance in the preparation of submissions to IMO as appropriate. Contribution is being provided to the follow-up of developments concerning:

  • Directive 1999/35/EC on a system of mandatory surveys for the safe operation of regular ro-ro ferry and high-speed passenger craft services,
  • Directive 2001/96/EC establishing harmonised requirements and procedures for the safe loading and unloading of a bulk carriers,
  • Directive 2003/25/EC on specific stability requirements for ro-ro passenger ships, and
  • Directive 2009/45/EC (former 98/18/EC) on safety standards and rules for passenger ships (on domestic voyages).


Technical support is being offered where revision is needed to amend the EU legislation in the light of new international regulations.

Currently the agency notably focuses on damage stability of ro-ro passenger vessels, for which the majority of the world fleet flies EU Member State flags and sails in EU waters, but also potential issues on other passenger ships. Following a study completed in 2009, identifying shortcomings in the applicability of current international legislation to this area, in 2011 a second study conducted by the University of Strathclyde was finalised and presented to IMO and other fora with specific safety recommendations.

2014 and 2015 will see the undertaking of the main part of a new study commissioned by EMSA to consolidate the view of the problem and to test possible options for remedial action that can be proposed to the international community.

Consideration will be given to a review of the subdivision and damage stability of ro-ro passenger ships constructed with long lower holds.

Another point of interest is the "Human Element". EMSA continue to provide technical assistance related to Regulation 336/2006/EC on the International Safety Management Code (ISM), Furthermore, technical advice will be available concerning to the Goal Based Standards (GBS) latest developments.