The aim is to enhance stability requirements and align them with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards.
The previous directive established specific stability requirements for ro-ro passenger ships, ensuring the safety of passengers and crew in case of collision damage.
However, the IMO adopted Resolution MSC.421(98) in 2017, introducing revised stability requirements for passenger ships, including ro-ro vessels. To stay in line with international regulations, the EU must adapt its rules accordingly.
The amendments address the deterministic nature of the existing stability requirements, which differ from the probabilistic regime introduced by the SOLAS Convention.
The directive aims to bring the EU's stability requirements in line with the new international standards defined by SOLAS 2020.
The updated directive applies to both existing and new ro-ro passenger ships. For ships certified to carry over 1,350 people, complying with SOLAS 2020 stability requirements significantly reduces risks compared to the previous directive.
However, implementing stability requirements for ships with 1,350 or fewer passengers might be challenging for certain designs.
Therefore, ship owners and operators have the option to apply the previous stability requirements if their ships meet specific criteria.
Member States must notify the European Commission of this option, and a review will be conducted in 10 years to assess its effectiveness.
Furthermore, the directive introduces higher safety requirements for ro-ro passenger ships with 1,350 or fewer passengers.
The optional application of SOLAS 2020 requirements for these ships is conditional on meeting a higher level of R-index, ensuring an appropriate safety standard.
The directive also emphasizes the importance of cooperation among port states to establish sea area lists based on specific stability requirements. This collaboration should consider national sovereignty and the principles of the law of the sea.
To support effective implementation, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will continue assisting the Commission, as it has been doing for Directive 2003/25/EC.
Member States are required to provide data on new ro-ro passenger ships certified to carry 1,350 or fewer people, complying with the probabilistic stability requirements of SOLAS 2020. This data will help evaluate and report on the directive's implementation.
Directive 2003/25/EC is being amended accordingly, with the replacement of certain terms, such as "host state" with "port state."
Additionally, landlocked Member States without seaports and ro-ro passenger ships under their flag falling outside the directive's scope may choose to derogate from its provisions, subject to specific conditions.
The new EU directive aims to enhance the safety of ro-ro passenger ships, aligning stability requirements with international standards and improving survivability in collision scenarios.