The European Union amends the rules on ship inspection organisations in the light of Brexit

On 25 January 2019, the Coreper (Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union) approved the proposed amendment of Regulation (EC) No 391/2009on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations. The amendment is necessary in order to ensure legal certainty for ship operators when the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

Ship inspection organisations carry out surveys and certification of EU flag States’ ships. In order to operate, Member States have to submit a request for recognition to the European Commission. The Member State that initially submitted the request for recognition of the organisation is the sponsor of such organisation. 

The Commission assesses recognised organisations at least every two years, and the ‘sponsor’ country must participate in the assessment. The United Kingdom is the initial sponsor of two organisations recognised by the EU. Following Brexit, it will no longer participate in the assessments for those two organisations.

The amended rules will replace the requirement that only the initial sponsor country is to participate in the assessment, with a provision allowing for the participation of any EU country which has authorised one of the recognised organisations. Therefore, organisations for which the UK has acted as sponsor will be able to continue to carry out inspections on behalf of Member States.

Sara Capruzzi