Brussels, 16 June 2011 – The European Commission has sent Sweden a formal request asking it to apply correctly the EU Directive on improving port security, and in particular to initiate assessments and develop port security plans. The Directive, which is one of the cornerstones of maritime security policy, aims to guarantee uniformly high levels of security in all European ports. Sweden has two months to show that it is applying the Directive, failing which the Commission may bring a case against Sweden before the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The EU rules
The main aim of the Directive on enhancing port security (Directive 2005/65/EC) is to build on the measures adopted in 2004 in the Regulation on enhancing ship and port facility security (Regulation (EC) No 725/2004).
The measures aim to ensure adequate security levels throughout the port area, over and above the basic measures imposed on port terminal operators, through greater commitment from national, regional and local authorities.
The main objective of the Regulation is to implement measures aimed at enhancing ship and port facility security in the face of the threats posed by intentional unlawful acts. The scope of the Regulation is limited to security measures on board vessels and at the immediate ship/port interface. The Directive builds on the measures provided for in the Regulation by establishing a system of security levels in port areas. The Directive aims to achieve maximum protection for maritime and port activities through port security measures covering each port within a perimeter specifically defined on a case-by-case basis by the Member State concerned. In this way the Directive will help improve security in areas of port activity without creating new obligations in fields already covered by the Regulation. These measures apply to all ports in which one or more port facilities governed by the Regulation are situated.
The Directive and the Regulation thus provide a regulatory framework for protecting ports, as part of the maritime link in the transport logistics chain, against the risk of attacks and similar threats.
Why act now?
The Commission has taken this step following a visit made by its inspectors to Malmö (Sweden) in June 20101. The Malmö region has several port facilities which have a security plan; however so far none of these ports appear on the port security plan which the Swedish authorities are required to send to the Commission.
The Commission therefore considers that Sweden is not applying correctly the security measures needed in ports, at least with regard to Malmö, in particular in terms of the assessments and the port security plans required under the Directive.
The practical effects of non-implementation
Failure to comply with the Directive on enhancing port security could compromise port security at EU level, with the risks that this implies in terms of ensuring a uniformly high level of security in all ports of the European Union.
Source – European Commission.