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Fire Protection for the Marine Industry

Ship Safety Standards

Due to a number of serious vessel casualties that have occurred in recent years, ship safety is a subject that is currently receiving a high level of attention in national, European and international fora. 

Inadequate safety standards can lead to loss of life, pollution, destruction of the environment and significant financial costs and losses to communities, governments, industry and others.

Ship safety standards are developed and set, at the international level, by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). They are subsequently implemented and enforced by both national maritime authorities and, under delegated powers, by recognised organisations. European legislation clarifies, and sometimes reinforces, the ship safety standards that have been established by IMO Conventions. 

Recent concerns within the EU, that ship safety standards were not being effectively administered by those with the authority to do so, have contributed to the establishment of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

EMSA's task, in conjunction with the European Commission, is to ensure that Community legislation on ship safety issues is effectively and consistently applied, by all Member States, to the sea going vessels that fall under their jurisdiction. This task involves monitoring and appraising the development and implementation of legislation dealing with the design, construction, operational integrity and safety of ships and their equipment. 

Marine Equipment 

Shipping accidents are a huge concern to the European Community, and in particular those which cause loss of human life or major pollution in EU sea areas and along the coastline of the Member States. Therefore, it is vital that an EU level system is set in place which is capable of substantially reducing the risk of such accidents. A critical part of the developing system is the development and implementation of common standards which ensure high safety levels in the performance of equipment which is carried on board EU flagged ships. In particular, it is clear that the setting in place of consistently high quality type approval methods, testing standards and testing methods will have a very significant positive effect on the performance of equipment.

Against this background, it is acknowledged that the maritime sector is a global entity and that the implementation of existing international standards varies greatly throughout the world. This is consequently a fundamental problem for any country, or group of countries, which would like to ensure high safety standards for ships operating in, or near to, their coastal waters.

With these things in mind, the European Union has set in place Directive 96/98 (as amended). This seeks to enhance safety at sea and the prevention of marine pollution through the uniform application of the relevant international instruments relating to equipment to be placed on board ships for which safety certificates are issued by or on behalf of Member States pursuant to international conventions and to ensure the free movement of such equipment within the Community.' 

The main aim of the Directive is to ensure, as far as possible, that marine equipment on EU flagged ships is designed and constructed to appropriate standards. In addition to improving safety, it is also expected that constructing equipment to higher standards will improve the competitiveness of the EU ship building industry. The Directive places a number of key requirements on the European Commission, the technical elements of which have become the responsibility of EMSA. These include:

the monitoring of developments relating to performance and testing standards.

the preparation of updates for technical annexes of the Directive.

the monitoring of the work of the group of notified bodies which certify marine equipment on behalf of the Member States.

the development and management of the database of EU approved marine equipment.

the provision of technical support to the European Commission in proposing amendments to the Marine Equipment Directive.

the provision of technical input to the work of the joint committee which manages the MRA+ agreement between the European Community and the United States of America. 

the provision of assistance to the European Commission in further developing the technical annex to the MRA+ agreement

Monitoring of Port State Control 

The coastline of the European Union is many thousands of kilometres in length and contains well over 600 individual ports. These handle around 90% of EU external trade and around 35% of trade between EU countries. This involves handling 3.5 billion tonnes of goods and 350 million passengers being transported on millions of ship journeys each year. 

Consequently, it is vital that EU maritime transport operates in a safe, secure and environmentally friendly way. In support of these goals, and in addition to the systems and procedures in place in each country, the EU has set legislation in place under port state control Directive 95/21. This aims to ensure that there is effective inspection of ships in EU ports and, thereby, to ensure that ships sailing in EU waters have been appropriately constructed and maintained. 

Against this background, EMSA has been given the technical responsibility for monitoring of port state control at EU level. This involves assessing the functioning of the port state inspection systems set up by individual EU members, undertaking a comprehensive analysis of global statistics relating to vessels calling at EU ports, as well as analysis of data on individual ship inspections. The consequent risk assessment studies, and statistical research provides results which can be used to develop objectives and procedures for the continuous improvement of EU port state control performance. In addition, the Agency carries out a number of supporting tasks in this area order to ensure the overall effectiveness of the EU port state control system. For example, it:

provides technical assistance related to European Commission participation in the various bodies dealing with port state control.

promotes, and contributes to, collaboration between Member States in the training field, and in the development of technical practices aimed at improving the implementation of the EU port state control Directive.

plays a role in implementing the ban on ships flying a blacklisted flag that have been repeatedly detained, and publishes and updates the list on a regular basis (EU lists of banned ships).

provides technical assistance to the Commission in preparing an amendment to Directive 95/21, in support of the Council Conclusion of 6th December 2002, which was adopted following the Prestige casualty.

Marine Accident Investigation 
As with other transport modes, shipping bears the risk of accidents and significant consequences and accidents and incidents are likely to continue occurring along Europe's coasts and on ships registered in the Member States. When serious accidents occur, it is vital that investigations are carried out and that data concerning the causes, consequences and contributory factors are collated for analysis with the aim of minimising the number and seriousness of accidents in the future. On that basis, trends and risks can be identified, recommendations made and appropriate measures implemented.

Article 2(e) of EC Regulation 1406/2002 gives EMSA several key tasks in this area. As a result, the Agency is working with Member States and the European Commission to develop a common methodology for investigating maritime accidents. It also facilitates co-operation and, where appropriate, provides support to Member States in activities concerning investigations related to serious maritime accidents. In addition, it provides technical support to the European Commission in proposing legislation relating to maritime accident investigation and is creating an EU maritime accident database.

This database will become a core element of the European Marine Casualty Information Platform (EMCIP) provided by EMSA. EMCIP shall serve as a central tool for the exchange of information and the processing of data related to marine accidents and incidents. It will contain data obtained by the public investigation authorities of the Member States and, for the first time in Europe, marine accident data will be collected, grouped and analysed under a common taxonomy. This will allow the Member States, EMSA and the European Commission to gain an overview of the current situation with respect to accidents and incidents and to identify trends and risks on the basis of objective, reliable and comparable information.

In order to strengthen capacities and to facilitate cooperation between Member States, the European Commission and EMSA, workshops, training sessions and expert discussions are organised regularly. Following the Commission's presentation of a legal initiative, which includes Directive proposals addressing issues relating to marine accident investigation, EMSA's experts are also working with Member States and the Commission on finalising a common methodology that builds on those fundamental investigation principles.

EMSA regularly reports on the structure of investigation arrangements around Europe and maintains a list of initial points of contact for marine accident investigation in each Member State. Investigation reports from Member State investigation authorities are sent to EMSA for registering and analysis in order to identify issues of common European interest.

EMSA attaches much importance to the use of Voyage Data Recorders (VDR) and other electronic devices in accident investigation. In this field, it supports activities relating to the retrieval and download of VDR data by providing a training and coaching service to the investigation authorities of the Member States. EMSA also participates in associated research projects.

To facilitate these processes and to identify further issues of common interest, a Consultative Technical Group for Cooperation in Marine Accident Investigation (CTG CMAI), consisting of experts from the Member States, has been set up and meets regularly at EMSA.

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Marine, naval and offshore fire protection
Products from the Gielle Fire Suppression have been developed to meet not only the needs of today, but to also comply with evolving marine requirements, including environmental issues, local regulations and more. To every extent possible, we engineer the ability to upgrade our equipment directly into our product lines. In many cases, this gives owners the ability to avoid entire system replacements when conditions change. Each design innovation is supported by such important services as ongoing safety documentation.

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Call us +39 0803118998
  E-mail: info@gielle.it  

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