On 21st December 2019, the Royal Decree 596/2019 of 18th October on security and safety regulations applicable to the passenger vessels operating between Spanish ports, which amends the Royal Decree 1247/1999 of 16th July, comes into force.
This new Royal Decree seeks to take into consideration the combination of security measures that are required and the real conditions on board of the ships, without eluding matters such as crew training and preparation and their working conditions.
The issuance of this new Royal Decree 596/2019 is motivated by the necessity to adjust the Spanish legislation to the existing European regulations, and the amendments mainly focus on maritime safety and security. For that, the Royal Decree amends primarily the wording of the articles that constitute it, but on a larger scale it modifies the articles 2, 3, 4, 6 and 13.
In particular, the article 2, as we can observe, adds several new exclusions, such as vessels and sailing boats, offshore service vessels or support vessels and high-speed passenger boats when used exclusively in port areas.
Regarding the article 3, this has been greatly amended since refences to the safety has been added by referring to the International Code on Intact Stability, 2008 (MSC 267 (85) IMO). In the same way it updates the regulation by amending the former Law 27/1992 by the current Royal Decree 2/2011, Consolidated Text of the State Ports and Marchant Navy Act.
Its article 4, which concerns the classification of sea areas, has been amended completely. The definitions of sea areas have been simplified and, whereas in the previous classification the priorities were given to the areas where passenger vessels were operating, the current classification mentions simply sea areas and the point 3 of this article is exclusively devoted to the passenger vessels and their classification depending on the sea area where they can navigate.
An additional paragraph has been included into the article 6, which regards significant repair works, changes and modifications performed on new vessels as well as on those already existing.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the wording of the articles 12 and 13 has also been amended in order to adjust them to the current international regulation.
As we can see, legislation is a constantly progressing science that needs to be adapted to the new realities. It is evident that the reality of the sector in the matter of security applicable to passenger vessels in 1999 and the current reality are far from being even similar. Since there is a strong need for it, we do not doubt that the current reform will be welcomed.