Baltic and European news
Minor ship pollution "not criminal act" - MEPs
Minor discharges of polluting substances from ships should not be classed as criminal infringements even if they are committed intentionally as long as water quality is not affected as a result, the European parliament's transport committee confirmed on Tuesday.
Such offences should be seen as administrative infringements subject to lesser charges, committee members said. However repeated minor discharges should lead to tougher criminal sanctions. This is because administrative fines are sometimes not high enough to deter ship crews from polluting the seas.
The distinction between criminal and non-criminal offences had initially been made in a 2005 framework decision that was subsequently annulled by EU judges (EE 22/02/05 http://www.endseurope.com/10296). It was reaffirmed by Spanish rapporteur Luis de Grandes Pascual in draft amendments to a European commission proposal on ship pollution (EE 14/01/09 http://www.endseurope.com/20369) backed by the committee on Tuesday.
Follow-up: European parliament's transport committee
ENDS Europe Daily is Europe's leading environmental news service. A free trial is available by clicking on the following link: http://www.endseuropedaily.com/web/helcom.