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Concerted Action on Formal Safety and Environmental Assessment of Ship Operations

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,


Background & Policy context

The promotion of a safety culture based on a pro-active approach - as opposed to a reactive one - is considered essential to improve safety in maritime transport. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has followed that approach with the adoption of the International Safety Management Code and the use of Formal Safety Assessment (FSA) techniques in the development of new rules and regulations.

Safety concerns regarding sea and offshore ship operations in Europe have triggered the need for a common understanding at a European level of the underpinning risks and how best to assess those risks. In particular, impacts of marine operations on the environment have become a focal point of safety-related considerations. To meet these demands, it was necessary to gather representatives and experts from the Member States, as well as from relevant European and international shipping organisations, in order to reach a common approach to safety and environmental assessment.


The FSEA Concerted Action was designed to bring together experts from all relevant parties involved in European shipping. The aim was to establish a common understanding and knowledge on how approaches to risk assessment and environmental impact can be applied to shipping, e.g. as a basis for future safety and anti-pollution regulations or for more flexibility in ship safety design. The Concerted Action intended to help the harmonisation of European activities in regulating shipping transport and to reach a consensus on the necessary further developments for the assessment of safety and environmental impacts from shipping.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The FSEA Concerted Action has produced:

  • An evaluation of the state-of-the-art of current methodologies, including in particular the following:

    • Formal Safety Assessment methodology, which is seen as a valuable tool for establishing a general overview of risks and risk control, covering people, property and the environment, for rule-making purposes.
    • Environmental Indexing of ships, a ship-type specific system, which estimates likely or actual ship-derived pollution and compares this with desired reference levels to calculate a ratio or index for the individual ship.
    • Environmental Accounting of individual ships, an approach focusing on the actual pollution from ships, which provides a system to keep track of the operational emissions and releases from individual ships.
    • The Green Award System, reflecting environmental performance, in which compliance with international/national laws and regulations, technical and operational standards on-board the individual ship and management standards on-shore are audited and scored.
    • The International Marine Safety Rating System (IMSRS), which constitutes an approach based on management system audits and physical condition checks.
    • The particular Port State Control approach, which focuses on the identification of deficiencies on ships and their follow-up, using a scoring system in order to reduce the number of sub-standard ships.
    • Human and organisational factors assessment, for which several approaches have been identified, mainly concentrating in human errors on the one hand and emphasising the importance of management and environment on the other.
  • A review of current assessment practice and risk assessment approaches in other industries.
  • A study of the state-of-the-art of databases, data availability, applicability and suggestions for an accident/incident reporting scheme, which included ideas for data collection based on a common approach.
  • An analysis of the integration of the human and organisational factors in safety and environmental assessments.
  • A method to identify sensitive areas using environmental assessment.
  • A review of the current regulatory requirements and techniques for rule making. This revealed that, in general, regulatory systems are lacking clear statements of safety approaches.

FSEA found that a common approach to safety and environmental assessment needs to be further developed. The project identified a number of areas in which research and development is necessary, in partic

Policy implications

The Concerted Action recommended the development of a common approach to safety and environmental assessment, common to all major actors, and consisting of several complementary methods.

The crucial step for a successful common approach is to obtain a profound understanding of the decision problems and needs within shipping, involving all actors. Collaboration is also crucial to establish a set of common objectives and risk acceptance criteria aiming at the promotion of risk-based rule making procedures.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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