Spanish fishing vessels at port. (Photo: Lia Russo)
Brussels requires Spain’s vessels to comply with EU rules
Friday, June 01, 2012, 02:30 (GMT + 9)
The European Commission (EC) requested the Spanish Government to amend its legislation on health and safety requirements on fishing vessels in order to fully comply with the requirements of EU legislation on the matter.
In particular, Brussels has requested Spain to clarify the definition of the term 'owner' of a fishing vessel so as to clearly determine who is responsible for complying with the requirements on health and safety on fishing vessels of the European Union (EU).
This request consists of an "additional reasoned opinion" under EU infringement procedures, the EU executive said.
Spain has two months to adjust its legislation according to the European one.
In case of failure to fulfill the request, the EC could bring proceedings against Spain before the Court of Justice of the EU.
In accordance with Directive 93/103/EC, the owner of a fishing vessel is the registered owner of a vessel, unless that vessel has been chartered by demise or is managed, either wholly or in part, by a natural or legal person other than the registered owner under the terms of a management agreement.
Instead, the Spanish national law states that those "engaged in exploiting the vessels" qualify as owners.
In case where the vessel is chartered, the Spanish law permits both the registered owner and the charterer to qualify as owner.
Community authorities argue that this implies that Spanish law does not clearly define the person who will bear the responsibilities imposed on owners regarding health and safety of workers on board fishing vessels.
According to Brussels, the risk of an accident with personal injury in the maritime fishing sector is 2.4 times higher than the average of all European industries.
By Analia Murias