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MCA releases a consultation on the EU’s safety rules and standards for passenger ships

Published on: 29 September 2020

View off the back of a boat into the sunrise

Since 2015, the European Commission has reviewed numerous items of EU legislation under its Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) programme. This supports better regulation agenda and aims to ensure that regulations deliver their intended benefits for citizens, businesses and society while removing red tape and lowering costs. It also aims to make regulations simpler and easier to understand.

The result of the REFIT exercise being carried on Directive 2009/45/EC on safety rules and standards for passenger ships is amending directive (EU) 2017/2108. Directive 2009/45 applies only to seagoing domestic passenger ships.

These are ships that:

  • carry more than 12 passengers
  • go to sea; but
  • only undertake non-international voyages, back to the same port, or to a different port, within the same EU Member State

These amendments in directive 2017/2108 comprise mainly updates, clarifications and improvements to layout. There is however one important, substantive change to the technical safety requirements; the removal of ships below 24m length from scope of the directive, this will allow sub 24m steel and equivalents vessels to now be built to the UK’s SSPS code. As the requirements in (the substantive) directive 2009/45 are underpinned by UK legislation (SI 2000/2687), intervention is necessary to transpose directive 2017/2108 so that this amendment can be reflected, and any benefits that it represents made available to UK industry.

The full consultation documents including a list of amendments (found in annex A) can be downloaded here.

Closing date for the consultation is 20/10/2020 and consultation responses should be either sent straight to the MCA via or through the British Marine technical team via