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Data plan to make European sea travel safer

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Data plan to make European sea travel safer

Cruise ship

(BRUSSELS) - The registration of ship passengers in the EU is set to be digitalised to give search and rescue services immediate access to information on the people on board, following draft agreement by the EU Council.

The agreed Council position on updated requirements for registering passengers and crew on board European passenger ships will also make it easier to assist victims and their relatives by recording data of passengers' nationality.

The rules improve safety, said Malta's transport minister Joe Mizzi, for the EU presidency. "But on top of that, they encourage innovation and digitalisation in the passenger transport industry, which will help boost the sector's competitiveness, in particular, by reducing administrative burdens," he said.

Under current rules, passenger registration information is stored by the shipping company, and the search and rescue centre contacts the company's registrar in the event of an emergency. The system relies on the availability of the contact person, and valuable minutes may be lost before the rescue operation is launched.

Under the new requirements, data will no longer be kept by the shipping company but will be made immediately available to the relevant authority in electronic format. The two means of transmission, namely the National Single Windows and the Automatic Identification System were included in the original Commission proposal and were maintained by the Council

The proposed new rules also include nationality in the data to be recorded, in addition to name, date of birth, gender, and - if the passenger so wishes - the need for special assistance in an emergency. At present, the recorded information does not always include nationality, which makes it more difficult to assist victims and their relatives.

The proposal is part of a broader review of EU passenger ship safety legislation, which aims to make travelling by sea safer while simplifying the rules and cutting administrative costs.

The 'general approach' is the Council's position for talks with the European Parliament. The Parliament has yet to adopt its position on this proposal. Both institutions must agree on the text before it can enter into force.

Registration of ship passengers – Council position (general approach)

Registration of persons on board passenger ships – summary of current legislation

Registration of ship passengers – Commission proposal

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