MSC Flaminia Fire Helps EU Develop Guidelines on Places of Refuge

The European Commission presented the new EU operational guidelines for ships in need of assistance in the aftermath of the MSC Flaminia accident, which occurred in July of 2012.

The EU operational guidelines were drafted to ensure better coordination and exchange of information amongst authorities and industry stakeholders involved in the response to an incident concerning a ship in need of assistance.

“It is a good example of proactive implementation of EU legislation, building on best practices and sharing experience, which is fully in line with President Juncker’s strategic approach to Better Regulation,” European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bluc, said.

The guidelines have been developed by an expert group composed of EU member states’ competent authorities, with the input and support of industry stakeholders, following an initiative of the Commission due to the fire aboard the containership MSC Flaminia.

The guidelines complement national plans and apply to situations where it is likely that more than one state may become involved, or where the incident falls outside the jurisdiction of any member state. They aim is to develop well-advised and, where possible, quicker decision making in cases when ships need assistance.

The German-flagged container vessel was in international waters in the Atlantic Ocean, when it was hit by an explosion and a fire on board, resulting in severe damages.

Given the volatile situation, the process of deciding where to accommodate the vessel took two months and finnaly resulted in the ship being finally accommodated in a place of refuge in Germany in September 2012.

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