Lessons learned from the accident of MSC Flaminia: new guidelines for ships in need of assistance
Today the European Commission presented the new EU operational guidelines for ships in need of assistance. The guidelines have been developed by an expert group composed of Member States' competent authorities, with the input and support of industry stakeholders, following an initiative of the Commission in the aftermath of the MSC Flaminia accident. Commissioner Bulc congratulated the stakeholders for taking part in this joint positive effort, in the interest of maritime safety and environmental protection: "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"
The EU operational guidelines were drafted to ensure better coordination and exchange of information amongst competent authorities and industry stakeholders involved in the response to an incident concerning a ship in need of assistance, such as the MSC Flaminia in July 2012. While the German-flagged container vessel was in international waters in the Atlantic Ocean, there was an explosion and a fire on board. The MSC Flaminia was severely damaged. Given the volatile situation, the process of deciding where to accommodate the vessel resulted in the ship being finally accommodated in a place of refuge in Germany in September 2012.