ESI-I-1 - Issuing of an inland navigation certificate
A vessel (in this case a passenger vessel) has a Rhine vessel inspection certificate. This Rhine vessel inspection certificate contains derogations under item 52 that were permitted on the basis of a CCNR recommendation.
The vessel owner would now like to have the vessel’s Rhine vessel inspection certificate converted into a Union certificate.
We can imagine two interpretations:
1. Under Article 7 of Directive (EU) 2016/1629, vessels with a Rhine vessel inspection certificate are allowed to navigate on Union waterways. As such, the Rhine vessel inspection certificate is deemed to be equivalent to the Union certificate. This is supported by the statement in indent 2 (a) of the aforementioned article which says that the Union certificate issued for the Rhine must comply fully with the CCNR’s provisions for the Rhine.
According to this interpretation, the present Rhine vessel inspection certificate could be converted into a Union certificate without difficulty.
2. The issuing of a Union certificate confers an entitlement to navigate on all EU waterways. The treatment of recommendations, i.e. derogations from the ES-TRIN, is governed by Article 25 of Directive 2016/1629. These derogations are passed into EU law by the European Commission by implementing act at the request of a member state and after consent has been given by CESNI. There is no such implementing act in this case. Article 25 also contains no provision for recognising derogations based on a recommendation issued by CCNR bodies.
Under this interpretation, no one-to-one conversion of the Rhine vessel inspection certificate is possible.
Question: Which of the two interpretations is applicable?
Interpretation 2 applies. As the vessel is changing substantive scope (from CCNR law to EU law), it is required to comply fully with the provisions of the newly applicable law (in this case Directive (EU) 2016/1629). The directive does not currently provide for recognition of CCNR recommendations. Under the directive, registering a derogation in a Union certificate requires the Commission to have approved the derogation in accordance with the relevant procedure.
Should the owner wish to receive a Union certificate for his vessel in lieu of the Rhine vessel inspection certificate, it is incumbent on him as a matter of principle to comply with the requirements and to follow the procedure for obtaining a Union certificate and for a derogation under Article 25 described in Directive (EU) 2016/1629 to the letter. It is also possible to have oneself issued a provisional certificate.
CESNI/PT (19) 108 rev. 1, CESNI/PT (19)m 104 final, point 4.1
CESNI working group technical requirements CESNI/PT,