EU targets shipping pollution

New EU rules to combat sea pollution will come into effect across European states starting in April, setting in place a system of penalties to prevent maritime pollution.

The EU directive on ship pollution will impose penalties on any party responsible for causing illegal pollution, be it the vessel’s master, owner, operator, or anyone else involved in the complex world of shipping whose international nature can make legal proceedings difficult.

“We must get tough on illegal discharges and gross negligence must be fought at all cost: the threat of criminal penalties hanging over polluters’ heads will help to protect our coasts,” said Jacques Barrot, Commission vice-president in charge of transport.

“We cannot tolerate deliberate pollution or gross negligence by a minority of operators who tarnish the image of the shipping industry,” he added.

Directive 2005/35 on shipping pollution covers discharges from all ships calling at EU ports regardless of their provenance, in coastal waters as well as the high seas.

The new rules encourage member states to cooperate in tracking polluting discharges to vessels moving between countries.

EU member states are obliged to incorporate the directive into national law by the end of this month.

Goska Romanowicz

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