Visits to Member States
Verification of the implementation of the EU maritime safety and security legislation remains a core task of the Agency. There are several reasons for verifying how this legislation is implemented in practice, including detecting gaps in the overall safety system; promoting a harmonised approach across the European Union; and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the measures in place.
EMSA carries out visits in accordance with Article 2.2(b) of its Founding Regulation, which states that the Agency shall assist the Commission:
“(b) in the effective implementation of relevant binding legal acts of the Union, in particular by carrying-out visits and inspections as referred to in Article 3 of this Regulation and by providing technical assistance to the Commission in the performance of the inspection tasks assigned to it pursuant to Article 9(4) of Regulation (EC) No 725/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on enhancing ship and port facility security. In this regard, it may address suggestions to the Commission for any possible improvements of those binding legal acts;”
Article 3.1 then provides that:
'In order to perform the tasks entrusted to it and to assist the Commission in fulfilling its duties under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular the assessment of the effective implementation of relevant Union law, the Agency shall carry out visits to Member States in accordance with the methodology established by the Administrative Board'.
In accordance with these provisions, the Commission requests the Agency to verify the effective implementation by Member States of specific Union law in the field of maritime safety. These visits normally take the form of a cycle of visits to all EU Member States, which take place over a number of years. EMSA also carries out visits to EFTA Member States at the request of the EFTA Surveillance Authority, normally within the same cycles of visits to EU Member States.
Visits are undertaken in accordance with the ‘Methodology for Visits to Member States’ adopted by the Administrative Board in 2015. They are carried out by way of document review, verification of facilities, staff interviews and examining files on a sampling basis, as relevant. A 'top-down' approach is applied throughout, beginning with the central competent authority and then addressing, as applicable, the designated authorities at national, regional and local level as well as other relevant entities providing services under the applicable legislative provisions at national and EU level.