EU Places of Refuge guidelines amended

By Helle Hammer, Managing Director of Cefor and Chair of the IUMI Political Forum

Following a table top exercise in Horten, Norway, last September, the cooperation group on places of refuge in the European Union met in Brussels on 1 February to discuss amendments to the operational guidelines and possible global implementation. The cooperation group is chaired by the European Commission, with representatives of EU/EEA member states, European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and industry associations. Lars Lange and Helle Hammer represented IUMI in the meeting.

Based on experience and feedback, some minor amendments were agreed to the Operational Guidelines for Places of Refuge. Overall, the meeting participants expressed strong support for the guidelines, which are founded on a collaborative approach with informed decisions based on a proper assessment of the situation. As emphasised in the guidelines, there shall be no denial of refuge without inspection and a rejection shall be based on safety reasons alone. The guidelines are available for download here from the EMSA website.  

The cooperation group also generally agreed that the EU operational guidelines principles, process and approach should have a global reach. To this effect, a joint initiative will be considered towards the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to review the international guidelines for places of refuge.