Visits to Member States

The Commission has requested the Agency to verify the effective implementation by Member States of EU maritime legislative acts. There are several reasons for verifying how this legislation is implemented in practice, including: detecting gaps in the overall safety system; promoting a harmonised approach across the European Union; and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the measures in place.

EMSA conducts visits to EU and EFTA Member States at the request of the European Commission and the EFTA Surveillance Authority respectively. Article 3.1 of Regulation (EC) No 1406/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2002, as amended, establishing a European Maritime Safety Agency states:

In order to perform the tasks entrusted to it and to assist the Commission in fulfilling its duties under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular the assessment of the effective implementation of relevant Union law, the Agency shall carry out visits to Member States in accordance with the methodology established by the Administrative Board.

Visits are carried out in accordance with the applicable governing instruments established by its Administrative Board.

Visits to Member States are carried in accordance with the Methodology for Visits to Member States adopted by the EMSA Administrative Board on 18 November 2015.

However, those cycles of visits that were already in progress at that time (the accident investigation and the 2nd cycle of STCW visits) will be completed on the basis of the previous Policy for Visits to Member States adopted by the Administrative Bora on 25 June 2004.

Visits are carried out by way of document reviews, verification of facilities, staff interviews and examining files on a sampling basis. A 'top-down' approach is applied throughout, beginning with the central competent authority, and then to designated authorities at national, regional and local authorities as well as other relevant institutions.