Caught between SOLAS and Reason:

A recording of the webinar can be watched on our YouTube-channel

International Travel on Traditional Boats with Passengers, held on 15 April 2021

Speakers: Anders Berg, Honorary President of EMH, and Hedda Lombardo, Chair of the Safety and Environment Council of EMH

The operation of traditional ships with passengers on board is now commonplace in many European countries. However, there are still considerable problems in cross-border traffic. This is mainly due to the lack of uniform international rules for our vessels.

EMH started working on this issue as early as 20 years ago and played a major role in the creation of the Wilhelmshaven MOU in 2005, in which the participating countries agreed to accept harmonized safety standards of other neighboring countries for their traditional vessels. The essential focus of the MOU at the time was to enable participation in maritime festivals, which was well accomplished and continues to be successful until today.

Beyond participation in maritime festivals, however, there is still a great need for action. This concerns, among other things, the normal cross-border traffic of traditional ships carrying passengers or trainees. The standard regulations for international voyages (SOLAS) do not help us, as most of our ships are exempt from them due to their design.  So, do we need an update of the MOU, an MOU II?  And what might this look like? Or a special chapter in SOLAS for traditional vessels? Or harmonization through European law?

Anders Berg, Honorary President and former President of EMH, is one of the fathers of the Wilhelmshaven MOU. No one can better explain the motivation and scope behind the landmark agreement and provide an outlook. Anders looks back at some 20 years active in the board of the Swedish Sailing Ship Association, most of the time as chairman/president, active as one of the skippers aboard the two-masted galeas SARPEN. He participated in the big pan-European meeting 1992 in Amsterdam where the idea of a European organization for traditional ships in operation was born. Anders was a member of the board of EMH until 2004.

Hedda Lombardo, Chair of EMH's Safety and Environment Council and representative of Norway within EMH, is taking the lead on reforming and adapting the MOU. She will explain what solutions exist and how they can be implemented in the future. Hedda Lombardo has a long history in working with maritime heritage. She is today the General Secretary of the Norwegian Ship Preservation Association and the Chairman of the Safety- and Environment Council in the European Maritime Heritage. She has a MasterĀ“s degree in Public Management from Oslo University College.