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30 June 2022 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 03:22 GMT+2

June 20, 2022

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EU commercial vessel fleet grows more slowly compared to the world one

First edition of the European Maritime Safety Report

The EU's fleet of commercial vessels is growing, but more slowly compared to the world one. In the five-year period 2016-2020, in fact, the percentage of ships flying the flag of Member States of the EU increased by +3.4% while the global one is rise of about +7%. This is revealed by the first edition of the Report on European Maritime Safety (EMSAFE) published today by the Agency European Maritime Safety (EMSA) on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of EMSA.

The report explains that in 2020 there were 13,098 ships with numbers IMO identification, with the exception of fishing vessels, which flew the flag of EU Member States, a number that represented 14% of the world fleet in terms of number of ships and 18% in terms of gross tonnage. In addition, about 20% of the world fleet was owned by citizens or EU companies. The types of ships most present in the fleet of the Member States of the European Union were the ships from labour (3,919 ships or 30% of the total), followed by ships passengers (2,450, 19%) and tankers (2,265, 17%).

Highlighting that the age of a ship is a factor important for security since it defines the relevant standards of safety, the document specifies that the average age of the fleet of the Member States of the European Union is comparable to that of the world fleet. In 2020 passenger and passenger ships ro-pax were the oldest in the EU fleet, with an age average of 28 and 27 years respectively, while the newest were bulk carriers and gas tankers, with an average age of 10 years, followed by container ships and chemical tankers, with an age average of 11 and 12 years. In addition, in 2020 the majority of states EU flag was part of the White List of the Memorandum Paris Agreement on the control of ships by the Port state, i.e. had good levels of security, with only two included in the gray list as they had some security issues and none on the blacklist.

With regard to accidents, the report states that in the five-year period 2016-2020 an average of 3,200 occurred accidents per year on board ships falling within the scope of application of EU law, which excludes, inter alia, fishing vessels of less than 15 metres in length. 2.4% of all reported incidents fell into the category of very serious and has resulted in the loss of human lives, of the entire ship or serious damage to marine equipment, while accidents that have had serious consequences, such as that of damage the ship to the point that it can no longer sail, serious injuries or non-serious damage to the environment, amounted to 24.9% of the total. Crew members represented about the 90% of people involved in accidents at sea in the five-year period, while the number of deaths decreased from 97 in 2016 to 71 in 2019 (the 2020 figure is considered unreliable due to of the Covid-19 pandemic).

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