Registration of persons on board passenger ships
Directive 98/41/EC — registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from EU ports
Directive (EU) 2017/2109 amending Council Directive 98/41/EC on the registration of persons in passenger ships
It sets out rules on the registration of those on board passenger ships and high-speed craft operating in EU waters.
It complements the safety rules and standards for passenger ships laid down by Directives 2009/45/EC and (EU) 2017/2108, as well as in Directive (EU) 2017/2110 on a system of inspections for the safe operation of passenger ships.
It seeks to improve the safety of and the procedures for the search and rescue of passengers and crew travelling by sea in the event of an emergency, as well as the aftermath of any accident which may occur.
It aims to ensure the number of persons on board does not exceed the number for which the vessel has been certified.
Counting of persons on board
All persons on board any passenger ship which departs from a port located in an EU country must be counted before that ship departs.
Before the passenger ship departs the number of persons on board must be communicated to the ship’s master and to the company’s passenger registrar or to a shore-based company system that performs the same function.
The ship’s master must ensure that the number of persons on board does not exceed the number the passenger ship is permitted to carry.
The rules in Directive 98/41/EC regarding the counting and registration of all individuals on board prior to departure from EU ports have been amended in December 2017 to introduce the electronic transmission and sharing of information on persons on board.
Directive (EU) 2017/2109 amends Directives 98/41/EC and 2010/65/EU introducing new rules which aim at digitalising the registration of ship passengers.
Its purpose is to ensure the immediate availability of the exact number of passengers and other information for the use of the search and rescue services in the event of an accident.
Under the new requirements, the number of persons on board will be communicated by means of either the national single windows or, if an EU country so chooses, to the designated authority by means of the Automatic Identification System* before the ship’s departure.
EU countries may decide to postpone the implementation of electronic reporting until 21 December 2023.
Information on persons on board
Where a passenger vessel departs from an EU port on a trip of more than 20 nautical miles (EU countries may lower this threshold), the following information must be collected and registered:
first name and surname;
date of birth;
any requirement for special assistance (when this information has been volunteered by a passenger); and
contact number (if the EU country so chooses and when this information is volunteered by the passenger).
This information must be recorded within 15 minutes after the ship’s departure.
The counting of and registering information about persons on board is also required for vessels which depart from a port located outside the EU but which are bound for an EU port, whether or not the vessel is flying the flag of an EU country.
Exemptions or derogations
EU countries may grant certain exemptions or request derogations concerning passenger counting and registration for ships provided that:
Exemption from Art. 4.2: they are not high-speed craft, operate regular services of less than 1 hour between port calls exclusively in sea area D (under Directive 2009/45/EC — Article 4) and the proximity of search and rescue facilities is ensured in that sea area;
Exemption from Art. 5: they are sailing between 2 ports or from and to the same port without intermediate calls, operate exclusively in sea area D and the proximity of search and rescue facilities is ensured in that sea area;
Derogation: they operate regular services in an area where the probability of wave height exceeding 2 metres is less than 10% and — either the entire voyage is less than 30 miles from departure — or a public service obligation exists for outlying communities.
Germany may extend the periods for the collection and reporting of information to 1 hour after departure in the case of passenger ships operating from and to the Island of Heligoland; and
Denmark and Sweden may extend the periods for the collection and reporting of information to 1 hour after departure in the case of passenger ships operating from and to the Island of Bornholm.
Application & Background
The original Directive 98/41/EC has applied since 22 July 1998 and had to become law in the EU countries by 1 January 1999. The rules regarding ‘Additional information on persons on board’ (Article 5) had to be applied no later than 1 January 2000.
The new rules on electronic reporting, introduced by Directive (EU) 2017/2109, apply from 21 December 2019, unless an EU country decided to make use of a transitional period.
For more information, see:
Safety of passenger ships (European Commission)
European Maritime Single Window environment (European Commission).
Automatic identification system (AIS): a maritime broadcast system, based on the transmission of very high frequency radio signals. Ships send reports with ship identification, position, and course, as well as information on cargo. In Europe, the exchange of AIS messages is done through the SafeSeaNet system.
Council Directive 98/41/EC of 18 June 1998 on the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from ports of the Member States of the Community (OJ L 188, 2.7.1998, pp. 35-39)
Successive amendments to Directive 98/41/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Directive (EU) 2017/2109 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2017 amending Council Directive 98/41/EC on the registration of persons sailing on board passenger ships operating to or from ports of the Member States of the Community and Directive 2010/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States (OJ L 315, 30.11.2017, pp. 52-60)
Directive (EU) 2017/2108 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2017 amending Directive 2009/45/EC on safety rules and standards for passenger ships (OJ L 315, 30.11.2017, pp. 40-51)
Directive 2010/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 on reporting formalities for ships arriving in and/or departing from ports of the Member States and repealing Directive 2002/6/EC (OJ L 283, 29.10.2010, pp. 1-10)
Directive (EU) 2017/2110 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2017 on a system of inspections for the safe operation of ro-ro passenger ships and high-speed passenger craft in regular service and amending Directive 2009/16/EC and repealing Council Directive 1999/35/EC (OJ L 315, 30.11.2017, pp. 61-77)
Directive 2009/45/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on safety rules and standards for passenger ships (recast) (OJ L 163, 25.6.2009, pp. 1-140)