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Revised EU’s stability rules for car ferries

After a thorough revision of a 20-year-old EU directive, revised regulation for passenger ships having car decksis now ready.

In the future the largest vessels will be covered by international IMO rules while vessels carrying less than 1,350 passengers must still comply with the directive.

One thing is the stability of a ferry if it gets into rough water but remains intact. Another and more serious matter is how a ferry behaves in the event of a leakage and an evacuation may consequently be necessary.

20 years ago, as a follow-up to the sinking of ESTONIA in 1994, the European Commission introduced stricter rules for passenger ships with car decks at European level (RoPax vessels).

The directive has just been revised and it shows that the international stability and safety rules for RoPax vessels with more than 1,350 passengers have meanwhile been strengthened considerably so it is no longer necessary to include the largest RoPax vessels in the EU directive.

On the other hand, the EU’s stability rules for car ferries carrying less than 1,350 passengers are maintained as EU finds that there is still a need for a higher level of safety than the IMO rules require.

The main purpose of the rules is how the ship behaves in the event of leakage and water enters the car deck. In that situation the ship must have sufficient reserve stability to be on an even keel with up to 500 mm of water inside the carriage deck making it is possible to initiate an eventual evacuation of the passengers.

” Safety at sea is the most important thing both for us and our members. Therefore, we have also followed the work on the revision of the directive closely and contributed with relevant inputs during the work. I am happy to see that the result in many ways reflects our and our members’ interest”, says Søren Enemark, Senior Adviser at Danish Shipping.

The revised EU rules do not include RoRo cargo vessels as they are included in a different set of rules.

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