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American Shipper

European Parliament votes on criminal sanctions against pollution from ships

European Parliament votes on criminal sanctions against pollution from ships

   The European Parliament on Tuesday voted in favor of a new European Union directive to combat pollution by vessels. Under the new rules, it will be a criminal offense to cause marine pollution from ships.

   A majority of Members of the European Parliament also called for the creation of a European coastguard to carry out spot checks along all coastlines.

   The European Parliament said it introduced amendments that further tightened up a proposal from the European Commission.

   “Sanctions will be applicable to any person or organization which has caused or contributed to illegal pollution intentionally or through gross negligence — including the master, the owner, the operator and the charterer of a ship or the classification body,” the parliament said.

   Members of the European Parliament also inserted a clause on black boxes (voyage data recorders), with a speeded up timetable for their installation on different types and sizes of vessels.

   Further amendments were adopted on the definition of illegal discharges and on the development of information and warning systems.

   The proposals will now go to the EU council of ministers, which represents national governments. If the council does not accept all of parliament’s amendments, the proposals will return for a second reading.

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