Some flag states in the European Union have failed to comply with rules regarding maritime standards, according to a recently released European Commission compliance report.
Current EU rules set specific standards for flag states that are to be in place by January. Despite some states’ progress, Portugal, Ireland and all landlocked flag states except Luxembourg have failed to meet the requirements.
"I am heartened that most coastal member states are taking their obligations seriously as flag states,” stated Siim Kallas, EU's transport commissioner. “However, I am particularly concerned to ensure that, for our seafarers, every member state, as a flag state, has ratified and put in place the common standards for living and working conditions on board set out in the international Maritime Labour Convention of 2006, especially as these have been agreed between the social partners at European level and recently enforced through EU law."
In December 2008, all EU member states committed to ratify a certain number of international conventions by January. The commission said that while progress has been made, the majority of states have yet to ratify conventions from 2007 onward.
Under current EU legislation, member states are required to take part in a peer review by other flag state experts. To date, Portugal, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia have failed to ask for such an audit.
In addition, an independent quality check on EU flag state systems and procedures must be provided by a certified quality management system, which should have been in place by June 2012. Portugal, Ireland, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia have yet to start this process, while four other flag states (Cyprus, Malta, the Netherlands and Slovenia) have said they will have such a system in place by the end of the year.
The commission said it will consider further measures to ensure that member states meet their obligations, including possible infringement proceedings.