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Estonian Government Approves EU Maritime Safety Package

The Estonian government has approved the national position on a European Union maritime safety package, which primarily focuses on the fishing sector.

The package seeks to change and modernize EU legislation in order to reduce shipping accidents, in line with international maritime law and taking into account the technological developments from the last decade. 

The package amends the EU maritime accident investigation directive, the compliance with the state flag directive, the port state control directive and the founding regulation of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

Jaak Viilipus, head of the maritime management department at the Ministry of Climate, said: “According to the International Labor Organization (a UN agency – ed.), an average of 24,000 people working in the fishing sector perish every year.”

“Hence the European Commission desire to pay more attention to the causes of fishing vessel accidents and incidents,” Viilipus went on, noting that while the issue is not a big one in Estonian waters or concerning Estonian fishing vessels, from a global perspective, it is major.

In the founding regulation of the EMSA, Estonia, for its part, proposed to add the duty of the agency to keep a register of ships subject to international sanctions. 

“Considering how difficult it is for member states to have an overview of ships subject to international sanctions, EMSA could keep a corresponding register which member states would have operational access to,” Viilipus went on.

The European Commission called for vessels below 15m in length to be in focus with the directives, the knowledge and tech sharing between member states in fishing safety and investigations, and the digitization of shipping documentation, all of which Estonia supports.

The new maritime safety package was presented by the European Commission in June, and active work on drafts begins this month.

Source: ERR News