CIRCULAR 2 A / 2019 New Regulations on Registration of people on board vessels



A new Royal Decree, the 724/2019, of December 13th, modifies the Royal Decree 665/1999, of April 23rd, which regulates the Registration of people on board a passenger vessel, as well as Royal Decree1334/2012, of September 21st, regarding some information requirements requested to commercial vessel that arrive and depart from Spanish ports.

These new changes aim to increase even more the maritime safety and rescue possibilities of passenger vessels and are also more strict about the obligation of the state Members in cooperation with shipping companies, of having a calculation of the passengers by a person designated for this purpose, as well as registering essential information with more modern means, adapted to nowadays `s technology.

In relation to the changes made to Royal Decree1334/2012, of September 21st, these aimed to modernize and update the instruments and adequate means so that the relevant authorities have available, true and updated information about the passengers on board the vessels and the obligations imposed by Royal Decree 665/1999,  of April 23rd, are adapted to the technical and operative requirements stemmed from electronic transmission data, in order to achieve more efficacy and immediacy, since in the last years, transmission instruments and vessel`s movements storage means have experimented important technological changes. The piece of information about essential data and the number of people on board will be communicated through the point of single contact system.

The following changes have been introduced by Royal Decree 665/1999, of April 23rd:

  • Before, the scope of application was larger, since it included passenger vessels whether they were high-speed or not, whereas now the regulation is only applicable to high-speed vessels.
  • The new concept of “designated person” has been introduced and defined as the person who is responsible for complying with the obligations of the CGS Code, if it proceeds, as well as any other person designated by and within a shipping company to transmit information about people embarked in one of the of the passenger vessels of this company.
  • A new concept of “designated authority” has been introduced. This authority will be the Salvage and Maritime Safety Company (SASEMAR) which must have access to the piece of information referred to in the new Royal Decree.
  • A new concept of “regular service” has been added and defined as the voyages carried out by vessels between two or more ports, or a set of voyages with origin and destination in the same port without stops, either by a pre-established schedule or by journeys carried out with such frequency or regularity that they can be considered as a systematic and recognizable set.
  • Now, “port zone” is defined as the maritime space that contains the services zones of Spanish Ports, according to the Maritime Law, approved by Law Royal Decree 2/2011, of 5th September or by the regulations of each Autonomous Community.
  • Yachts or recreational boats are now defined as a vessel or craft exclusively used with recreational purposes, without a commercial purpose, whatever their propulsion means are.
  • The scope of application of this Decree has been changed. Before, article 3 stated that this regulation would not apply to recreational boats, except for those navigating with a crew and transporting more than 12 passengers with commercial purposes, whereas now, this regulation will not be applicable to any kind of yacht or recreational boat, with no exceptions and will also not be applicable to the vessels exclusively used in the port zone or in internal navigation waters.
  • Article 4 did not mention expressively, before, who had to communicate to the captain and to other authorities the total number of passengers on board the vessel, whereas now, Article 4 mentions that there will be a “designated person” who will be responsible to communicate to the captain the total amount of people embarked and to the Port Authorities in the Ports by the point of single contact system, according to Royal Decree 1334/2012, of September 21st, about the informative formalities requested to commercial vessels that arrive and depart from Spanish Port and to inform the Salvage and Maritime Safety Company (SASEMAR), through an automatic identification system.
  • Article 6 has been modified. Before, when navigation would bring the vessel more than 20 nautical miles away from the origin port, apart from some information like name, sex, age etc., had to be communicated. Now, some more information is being requested like the nationality of people on board the vessel and a contact number given by the passengers for emergency cases.
  • Also, articles 8, 9, 10 were changed and a new norm was introduced, which states that the transmission of information to Port Authorities mentioned in this Royal Decree will be checked by the Autonomous organ in the Ports over which they rule.

In relation to Royal Decree 1334/2012 of September 21st, new informative formalities are requested to commercial vessels that arrive or depart from Spanish Ports:

  • A new phrase has been added as number 7 in the Annex, which mentions the following: Information about people on board. This piece of information about people on board refers to articles 4 and 6 above mentioned about name, last name, sex, age, nationality and about voluntarily given information, by the passengers who want to, about how to take care or assist the special needs of a passenger.

This Royal Decree came into force on December 21st 2019, except for the first final provision, which will come into force the next day after its publication in the Spanish Official Gazette.

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