In 2009, the Commission asked the Agency to carry out monitoring visits to the member states in relation to Directive 2002/59/EC on vessel traffic monitoring and information systems, following an analysis of replies to questionnaires and discussions of best practices. Seven visits were conducted in 2010 and seven in 2011, consistent with the programme of visits carried out in 2009 with the aim of completing the first cycle of visits in 2012.
The sequence of visits:
The inspection visits were carried out under the framework of the 'Policy for visits to member states' as adopted by the Administrative Board of EMSA in 2004, using the approved methodology. EMSA inspection teams were composed of representatives of EMSA Units B.1 and C.2.
In order to provide the Commission with information on the level of implementation of this Directive by the member states, the visits included interviews with the relevant competent authorities and inspections of selected coastal stations, Vessel Traffic Services and other vessel traffic monitoring infrastructure of the member state visited.
For effective assessment of all the requirements, and to follow the 'equal rights approach', the questions were compiled into a questionnaire, and addressed to the authorities concerned. A 'top-down' approach was followed throughout, beginning with the central competent authority of each member state down to the local authorities designated by the member states.
Inspections were carried out by way of document review, staff interviews, examining files on a select and sampling basis and by reference to operational or test exchanges of information reported by the EMSA Maritime Support Services.