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New standards in ship safety and passengers data

European Democrats thanks to Basque MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica played a key and decisive role last year during the negotiations with the Council on the regulation to modernise and simplify safety rules for ships, and more especially on new rules to digitalise ship passenger registrations.

The aim was to make information such as the exact number of passengers on board immediately available for search and rescue services if there is an accident. Prior to that, time was wasted because the services had to get the data from the shipping company’s contact person. The rapporteur also proposed that it should be mandatory to provide information on special care or assistance that passengers may need in an emergency, to ensure that all the information is there if a rescue operation needs to be mounted.

Although initially agreed for this action to be carried out on a voluntary basis, that information, along with the full date of birth, the nationality and other details required is now collected before departure and recorded in the single window established pursuant to Article 5 of Directive 2010/65/EU upon departure of the passenger ship, but never later than 15 minutes after departure.

EAJ-PNV MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Rapporteur for the file on the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships, pointed out: “The goal of this report is to improve the safety of maritime transport passengers by providing homogeneous data to rescue services to support them in case of emergencies. To deliver this we must provide the same data about passengers in real time and in all countries of the EU. The report includes guarantees over privacy and fulfils European data protection standards. Both are guaranteed by the immediate and automatic deletion of these passenger lists as soon as the trip ends. I am happy that this report will secure better and more modernised rescue services in an emergency.”

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