On 13 September 2010, the European Commission adopted new rules to enhance and improve the safety performance of ships. From 1 January 2011, the rules will introduce a new online register which will list shipping companies that are performing poorly on vital safety inspections (i.e. port state controls), while those with good safety records will be given good public visibility. Companies and states which appear to be performing poorly will be subject to intensive, coordinated inspections in EU ports.
The new regime will see an EU-wide harmonisation of port state control inspection standards. All safety inspections carried out in EU ports will be tracked, and a risk analysis will be produced which will determine the frequency and priorities for inspections by the relevant Member State authorities.
The new system will allow for a more effective use of inspection resources in ports, and will allow high risk ships and companies to be more easily targeted. It also means that manufacturers and other industries will be able to choose the shipping companies they use in full knowledge of their safety record.