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ESPO welcomes the operational guidelines for places of refuge

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ESPO one 28JAN2016Yesterday, the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) together with all maritime industry stakeholders, the Commission and EMSA co-signed a joint declaration to express their support for the recently adopted EU Operational Guidelines on Places of Refuge. This took place during an event in the European Parliament organized by Gesine Meissner, MEP and President of the Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastal Areas (SEARICA) Intergroup of the European Parliament. Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, also joined the conference as a way to support the initiative.

ESPO two 28JAN2016The guidelines are the result of the joined effort of Member States authorities, the Commission, EMSA and the maritime industry who have been working together for more than three years within the framework of the Co-operation group on places of refuge. They aim to enhance the communication and cooperation between the relevant authorities in the Member States in situations where a ship in distress requests a place of refuge, and also to streamline the decision-making process. The guidelines have and will be further tested during dedicated exercises. As such, they are seen as a living document that can be further improved to incorporate lessons learned.

“We fully support these guidelines. Time is the most important factor when dealing with a ship in distress. These guidelines will certainly help shortening the decision making process and avoid loss of time. The guidelines are a living document. We are looking forward to continuing the work on them, together with all stakeholders involved. We are happy that the cooperation group will also work on issues related to insurance, liability and compensation for ports accommodating a ship in distress. Bringing more clarity in these issues could certainly further facilitate the decision-making process”, says Isabelle Ryckbost, ESPO Secretary General.

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