About Investigation of Marine Casualty

Following the entry into force (on 17 June 2011) of Directive 2009/18/EC establishing the fundamental principles governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector, EU Member States should:

  • establish independent, impartial and permanent accident investigation bodies. Landlocked countries without a maritime fleet are not obliged to comply with this provision, other than to designate a focal point. This is the case currently for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  • require to be notified of marine accidents and incidents. This obligation covers casualties and incidents that:
    • involve ships flying the flag of one of the Member States;
    • occur within Member States' territorial sea and internal waters as defined in UNCLOS; or
    • involve other substantial interests of the Member States.
  • investigate accidents depending upon their severity. Casualties which are classified as very serious (those which imply total loss of ships, severe damage to the environment or fatalities) shall be investigated. Member States should perform a preliminary assessment on serious casualties in order to decide whether to investigate them. It is left to the Member States to decide whether to investigate a less serious accident or a marine incident.
  • publish investigation reports within twelve months from the data of the casualty.
  • notify the Commission of marine casualties and incidents, via EMCIP (European Marine Casualty Information Platform).

Iceland and Norway, Members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have also transposed and implemented Directive 2009/18/EC.