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European shipowners endorse EU Guidelines on Places of Refuge

European shipowners endorse EU Guidelines on Places of Refuge
The Brussels-based European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) body yesterday endorsed the final version of the EU Operational Guidelines on Places of Refuge first published in mid-November 2015.

The Guidelines were produced by a Cooperation Group on Places of Refuge comprising representatives of EU member states, the European Commission and industry.

They aim at providing practical guidance for the different parties involved in the process of dealing with a ship in need of assistance so as to support a more uniform application of the provisions of the EC VTMIS (Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System) Directive, as well as enhancing cooperation amongst all parties involved.

The EU Guidelines do not, however, supersede but rather complement the Guidelines developed at the IMO, ECSA stresses.

Work on the Guidelines began after the MSC Flaminia incident in 2012 (pictured) when fire broke out aboard the containership but the stricken vessel was for weeks refused entry to numerous ports for fear of environmental pollution before Germany finally accepted her.