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Legislation

Inland waterway transport – jobs and skills

Inland waterway transport – jobs and skills

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 87/540/EEC on access to the occupation of carrier of goods by waterway in national and international transport and on the mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications for this occupation

Directive 2014/112/EU implementing the EU agreement concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time in inland waterway transport, concluded by the European Barge Union, the European Skippers Organisation and the European Transport Workers’ Federation

Directive (EU) 2017/2397 on the recognition of professional qualifications in inland navigation

Delegated Directive (EU) 2020/12 supplementing Directive (EU) 2017/2397 as regards the standards for competences and corresponding knowledge and skills, for practical examinations, for the approval of simulators and for medical fitness

Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/182 on models in the field of professional qualifications in inland navigation

Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/473 supplementing Directive (EU) 2017/2397 as regards the standards for databases for EU certificates of qualification, service record books and logbooks

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE LEGISLATION?

  • Directive 87/540/EEC sets out common rules governing access to the occupation of carrier of goods by inland waterway in the European Union (EU) in order to improve the level of qualification of such carriers.
  • Directive 2014/112/EU implements the EU agreement, setting out rules governing working time in EU inland waterways.
  • Directive (EU) 2017/2397, as amended by Directive (EU) 2021/1233, sets up a harmonised system for the certification and recognition of the qualifications of crew members, including those from non-EU countries, working on EU inland waterways.
  • Delegated Directive (EU) 2020/12 introduces standards for competences, for practical examinations, for the approval of simulators and for medical fitness in inland navigation.
  • Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/182 provides models for professional qualification certificates and other related documents in the inland waterways transport sector.
  • Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/473 lays down the characteristics and conditions for use of the databases on EU certificates of qualification, service record books and logbooks.
  • Directive (EU) 2021/1233 amends Directive (EU) 2017/2397 as regards the transitional measures for the recognition of non-EU country certificates.
  • Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/184 amends Annex IV to Directive (EU) 2017/2397 further to Delegated Directive (EU) 2020/12.

KEY POINTS

Directive 87/540/EEC

Directive 87/540/EEC states that persons or businesses wishing to carry goods by waterway must satisfy the condition of professional competence, which covers knowledge of the following subjects:

  • civil law and commercial, social and tax legislation, including contracts and accounts;
  • commercial and financial management;
  • access to the market, including issues around taking up the occupation, chartering and transport documentation;
  • technical standards and technical aspects of operation, including registration, loading and unloading agreements and indemnities;
  • safety regulations and accident prevention;
  • international operations, including the main traffic regulations in EU Member States.

Proof of good repute and financial standing may also be required. After verifying the conditions are met, the authority issues a certificate of competence, which must be recognised in other Member States.

Directive 2014/112/EU

Directive 2014/112/EU implements the EU agreement setting out rules governing the working time of mobile workers in EU inland waterways across the EU, meaning that Directive 2003/88/EC – the EU’s working time directive (see summary) – does not apply to the sector. These rules include the following.

  • Working time is based on an 8-hour day. It must not exceed:
    • an average of 48 hours per week over a 12-month period;
    • 2,304 hours over 48 weeks;
    • 14 hours in any 24-hour period;
    • 84 hours in any 7-day period;
    • an average of 72 hours per week over 4 months, if there are more working days than rest days in the work schedule;
    • 31 consecutive days.
  • Special conditions may apply to workers employed on seasonal passenger vessels during the season. They can be entitled to 0.2 rest days for each working day. Working time cannot exceed 12 hours in any 24-hour period or 72 hours in any 7-day period.
  • Rest periods must be sufficient to guarantee the health and safety of workers and must not be less than 10 hours in any 24-hour period, of which at least 6 hours must be uninterrupted, or less than 84 hours in any 7-day period.
  • Breaks must be given to anyone who works more than 6 hours a day.
  • Night working is limited to 7 hours and a maximum of 42 hours over 7 days.
  • Each worker is entitled to paid annual leave of at least 4 weeks.
  • Workers under 18 are covered by Directive 94/33/EC on the protection of young people at work (see summary); special exceptions apply for young workers over 16 years of age.
  • Detailed records must be kept of each individual’s working and rest time.
  • Boat-masters may require crew members to work any necessary hours in the event of an emergency. Should this happen during workers’ scheduled rest period, they will be provided with an adequate period of rest.
  • All crew members are entitled to a free annual health check.

Directive (EU) 2017/2397

Directive (EU) 2017/2397 sets up a harmonised system for certifying the qualifications of persons involved in operating vessels navigating on EU inland waterways, and for the recognition of these qualifications in the EU.

It aims to remove barriers to labour mobility, to improve safety, to develop the skills of and offer better career prospects to all crew members and to help the transitioning of experienced workers from other sectors. Under the directive:

  • deck crew members, persons qualified to take measures in emergency situations on board passenger vessels and persons involved in refuelling vessels operating on liquefied natural gas must have an EU certificate of qualification;
  • boat-masters must have specific authorisations when they:
    • navigate on stretches of inland waterway with specific risks,
    • navigate on inland waterways with a maritime character (waterways designated by the reporting country as suitable for navigation primarily by seagoing ships),
    • navigate by radar,
    • operate vessels powered by liquefied natural gas,
    • sail large convoys;
  • EU qualification certificates, service record books and logbooks are valid on all inland waterways in the EU;
  • certificates issued in accordance with the regulation for Rhine navigation personnel, laying down requirements identical to those of the directive, are valid on all EU waterways;
  • amending Directive (EU) 2021/1233 introduces transitional measures that allow non-EU countries the necessary time to align their requirements with those of Directive (EU) 2017/2397, and allow the European Commission to assess their certification systems and, if necessary, to adopt an implementing act under that directive.

Directive (EU) 2017/2397 also:

  • sets out minimum requirements for age, administrative compliance, competence and navigation time for the different qualifications;
  • requires all deck crew members to meet medical fitness standards;
  • takes account of the different characteristics of Member States by allowing exemptions from some measures.

Delegated acts

The Commission has adopted several delegated acts supplementing Directive (EU) 2017/2397.

Delegated Directive (EU) 2020/12 introduces standards for competences, for practical examinations, for the approval of simulators and for medical fitness.

  • The standards were drawn up by the European Committee for Standardisation in Inland Navigation (CESNI).
  • The standards for competences include the required specific competences and corresponding knowledge and skills in compliance with the essential competence requirements set out in the directive.
  • They have been adopted for:
    • the operational level (defining the key competence for boatmen and any other qualification at operational level);
    • the management level (boat-masters);
    • the specific authorisation for a boat-master sailing on inland waterways with a maritime character;
    • the specific authorisation for a boat-master sailing with the aid of radar;
    • passenger navigation experts;
    • liquefied natural gas experts.
  • For the operational and management levels, the standards for competences cover the following chapters:
    • navigation;
    • operation of craft;
    • cargo handling, stowage and passenger transport;
    • marine engineering and electrical, electronic and control engineering;
    • maintenance and repair;
    • communication;
    • health, safety and environmental protection.

Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/473 lays down the characteristics and conditions for the use of the databases that will allow information exchange on certificates of qualification, service record books and logbooks.

  • It especially concerns users and access rights, functionalities, data and personal data protection and communication between the EU database and national registers, along with the designation of single contact points.
  • The EU database on crew-related documents will provide a consolidated overview of the data related to crew members’ qualifications that are kept in national registers. It will also record information on the crew members’ service record book. Information on logbooks will be recorded in the European hull database (Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/474).

Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/184 amends Annex IV to Directive (EU) 2017/2397 further to the standards for competences introduced under Delegated Directive (EU) 2020/12.

Implementing act

The Commission has adopted an implementing act, Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/182, which provides models for professional qualification certificates and other documents. The models were drawn up by CESNI and include formats for:

  • EU certificates of qualification as a boat-master, as a liquefied natural gas expert and as a passenger navigation expert;
  • service record books;
  • the single document combining EU certificates of qualification and the service record book;
  • practical examination certificates;
  • logbooks.

FROM WHEN DOES THE LEGISLATION APPLY?

  • Directive 87/540/EEC had to be transposed into national law by 30 June 1988.
  • Directive 2014/112/EU had to be transposed into national law by 31 December 2016.
  • Directive (EU) 2017/2397 had to be transposed into national law by 17 January 2022.
  • Delegated Directive (EU) 2020/12 had to be transposed into national law by 17 January 2022.
  • Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/182 has applied since 2 March 2020.
  • Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/473 has applied since 18 January 2022 (although some articles have applied since 21 April 2020).
  • Directive (EU) 2021/1233 had to be transposed into national law by 17 January 2022.
  • Delegated Regulation (EU) 2022/184 has applied since 3 March 2022.

BACKGROUND

For further information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/473 of 20 January 2020 supplementing Directive (EU) 2017/2397 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the standards for databases for the Union certificates of qualification, service record books and logbooks (OJ L 100, 1.4.2020, pp. 1–11).

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/182 of 14 January 2020 on models in the field of professional qualifications in inland navigation (OJ L 38, 11.2.2020, pp. 1–36).

Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2020/12 of 2 August 2019 supplementing Directive (EU) 2017/2397 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the standards for competences and corresponding knowledge and skills, for the practical examinations, for the approval of simulators and for medical fitness (OJ L 6, 10.1.2020, pp. 15–100).

Directive (EU) 2017/2397 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 on the recognition of professional qualifications in inland navigation and repealing Council Directives 91/672/EEC and 96/50/EC (OJ L 345, 27.12.2017, pp. 53–86).

Successive amendments to Directive (EU) 2017/2397 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Directive (EU) 2016/1629 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels, amending Directive 2009/100/EC and repealing Directive 2006/87/EC (OJ L 252, 16.9.2016, pp. 118–176).

See consolidated version.

Council Directive 2014/112/EU of 19 December 2014 implementing the European Agreement concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time in inland waterway transport, concluded by the European Barge Union (EBU), the European Skippers Organisation (ESO) and the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) (OJ L 367, 23.12.2014, pp. 86–95).

Council Directive 87/540/EEC of 9 November 1987 on access to the occupation of carrier of goods by waterway in national and international transport and on the mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications for this occupation (OJ L 322, 12.11.1987, pp. 20–24).

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Directive (EU) 2016/1629 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 laying down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels, amending Directive 2009/100/EC and repealing Directive 2006/87/EC (OJ L 252, 16.9.2016, pp. 118–176).

See consolidated version.

Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 November 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time (OJ L 299, 18.11.2003, pp. 9–19).

Council Directive 94/33/EC of 22 June 1994 on the protection of young people at work (OJ L 216, 20.8.1994, pp. 12–20).

See consolidated version.

last update 10.03.2022

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