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Title: Loading and unloading of bulk carriers
Sectors of Transport: Transport, Transport, Road transport, Security & safety
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Loading and unloading of bulk carriers

Loading and unloading of bulk carriers


Directive 2001/96/EC — EU requirements and procedures for the safe loading and unloading of bulk carriers



  • It increases safety procedures for bulk carriers loading and unloading their solid bulk cargo in EU ports.
  • It aims to reduce the risk of damage to ships during loading and unloading.
  • It harmonises standards for ships and for terminals, and for cooperation and communication between them.


  • The legislation applies to EU terminals* and bulk carriers, irrespective of their flag, that use these to load and unload solid bulk cargo.
  • EU countries must ensure
    • terminal operators are confident the visiting carriers and their own terminals comply with the legislation
    • loading and unloading plans in line with the 1974 SOLAS Convention are agreed between the shipmaster and the terminal representative before any work begins
    • their own authorities prevent or halt any operation it they believe it would endanger the safety of the ship or crew
    • regular inspections, including unannounced visits, of loading and unloading operations are carried out to verify compliance with the legislation. The results of the inspections are forwarded to the European Commission every 3 years.
  • Shipmasters are responsible at all times for the safe loading and unloading of the carriers under their command.
  • Terminal representatives must provide the master with relevant information, such as the name of the berth, and the equipment available where the operation will take place, before the vessel arrives.
  • Terminal representatives must report to the harbour master any damage to a vessel or its equipment during loading or unloading. If necessary, it should be repaired.


It applies from 5 February 2002. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 5 August 2003.


* Terminal: any fixed, floating or mobile facility equipped and used for the loading or unloading of dry cargo in bulk into or from bulk carriers.


Directive 2001/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 December 2001 establishing harmonised requirements and procedures for the safe loading and unloading of bulk carriers (OJ L 13, 16.1.2002, pp. 9–20)

Successive amendments to Directive 2001/96/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 14.03.2016

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