Brexit Update (3). Maritime organisations.


‘Exit day’ will see changes in two maritime organisations of which the UK is currently a member.

  1. The International Maritime Organisation (‘IMO’).

The IMO is a UN body of which most countries, and all EU member states, are members. The EU is not a member but the Commission has observer status. However, the Commission ensures that Member States follow a pre determined EU line in meetings of the IMO as outlined in this extract from the European Parliament’s 2016 briefing

“To ensure that the EU speaks with one voice in IMO meetings, it applies an informal process for coordinating the positions of the EU Member States, Norway and Iceland.For most IMO meetings, the European Commission prepares a coordination paper, suggesting the positions for the Member States to follow. Moreover, several weeks before key IMO sessions, a coordination meeting is held in Brussels for Member States’ representatives to agree on joint positions. In practice though, while during IMO meetings the EU Council presidency advances the coordinated position, individual EU Member States can take the floor and express their own position, sometimes departing slightly from the joint one.”

The key  word in the last sentence is ‘slightly’.  EU Member States have to toe the line in IMO meetings both in how they vote and what they say.

Not any more, for the UK, after ‘Exit Day’.

  1. The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)

The European Commission proposed to set up a European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) in the aftermath of the “Erika” accident. EMSA was established by Regulation 1406/2002 ,  on 27 June 2002 and entered into force in August of the same year. EMSA provides technical and scientific assistance to the European Commission in the fields of maritime safety, maritime security, prevention of pollution and response to pollution caused by ships. The UK will cease to be member of EMSA as of ‘exit day’. However, article 17 of Regulation 1406/2002 ,  provides for participation of non-EU countries  “which have entered into agreements with the European Community, whereby they have adopted and are applying Community law in the field of maritime safety and prevention of pollution by ships.”

And that means accepting continuing role of CJEU, so not very likely.