New legislation to simplify and improve passenger ship safety rules were adopted by the European Council on October 23.

“The adoption of these new safety rules is an important deliverable in our EU maritime year,” said Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc. “At times when citizens expect the European Union to protect them, we are sending a clear message: your safety is our priority.”

According to the European Commission, the adopted package ensures that the passenger ship safety rules are clear, proportionate and deliver a common level of safety for EU citizens.

Once fully implemented by the EU member states, all competent authorities will have immediate access to passenger data in case of emergency and all passenger ships longer than 24 metres made of steel and aluminium will be built according to common European safety standards.

The adopted package is a result of proposals made by the European Commission in June 2016.

The new rules will enter into force 20 days after their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. EU member states will have two years to transpose the updated rules into national legislation and four years to introduce electronic data reporting.