Inland Waterways Council


news from the IWC

The Inland Waterways Councils deals with the legal situation of traditional and historic ships on inland waterways.

The first harmonization of ship safety rules for inland waterways ships was published as EC Directive 82/714 in 1982. At this time the Rhine rules continued as a separate system of certification.

The original Directive did not contain regulations for passenger vessels and leisure craft. This means that the majority of traditional ships had only to comply with national regulations.

In 2006 a new EU Directive 2006/87 came into force and included all ships of over 20m in length and those whose length x breadth x maximum draught in meters = 100 or more; thus including passenger vessels and leisure craft. The Directive classified inland waters into Zones 1-4 and Zone R – the Rhine. (See Note 1)

Up until 30 December 2018 passenger and recreational ships built before 16 June 2008 were certified with some relaxations allowed if the relaxation did not pose a manifest danger to others. Ships certified in this way will continue to be allowed the relaxation at certificate renewal. (But see Note 2 below)

Ships that were not certified by 30 December 2018 are treated as a new build and will have to comply with the full regulations contained in the Directive. There are some transitional (date – limited) provisions in Chapters 32 and 33.

In 2015 the EU Commission and CCNR agreed on a new common Directive and appointed a new body, the Comité Européen pour l’Élaboration de Standards dans le Domaine de Navigation Intérieure (CESNI), which is responsible for agreeing construction and equipment standards for inland vessels across European inland waterways and brings together experts from the Member States of the European Union and the CCNR and representatives of international organisations with an interest in inland navigation.

In October 2018 a new system of harmonized regulations of both EU and Rhine regulations came into force contained in ES-TRIN 2015/1 and EC2016/1629. These rules include Chapters which can be applicable to traditional ships and are less onerous than the full commercial certification. These are 20 (sailing passenger vessels), 24 (traditional ships) and 26 (recreational craft). CESNI has now further amended the regulations with ES-TRIN 2017 and makes further proposals in ES-TRIN 2019.

Chapter 24 is particularly helpful to operators of traditional ships but does require surveys by both a nationally approved expert and a surveyor from an approved inspection body.
The object of the Inland Waterway Council of EMH is to continue the development and implementation of Chapter 24 by joining CESNI as an Approved Organisation.

Flowchart Traditional Vessels

ES-TRIN 2017

All efforts undertaken by EMH have followed these prime objectives:

  • to protect operating Traditional Ships from threats due to inappropriate application of modern ship safety rules,
  • to influence and control any European harmonization processes on the field of ship safety,
  • to enable international traffic of Traditional Ships under the regime of European and national certification.

Members of the IWC are:

  • Paul van Ommen (Chairman, The Netherlands)
  • Lars Kröger (Germany)
  • Kari Anne Flaa (Norway)
  • Anders Svenson (Sweden)
  • Andy Soper (United Kingdom)