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ETF update: inland sector unites on safety

19 August 2022

With the new EU crewing regulation, the ETF wants to ensure zero accidents and a safe workplace for all inland waterways crew. Myriam Chaffart reports

The ETF is working closely with our inland waterways transport (IWT) affiliates to prioritise safety in a new Europe-wide crewing standard for IWT.


Myriam Chaffart is the ETF senior policy officer for inland waterways and European works councils

The aim is to replace all existing crewing standards developed by the respective River Commissions. IWT will never be the same again, as this new regulation, for the first time ever, will organise the sector on the entire European continent.

The new crewing regulation is being developed by the European Commission and the inland waterways standard-setting body CESNI (Comité Européen pour l’Élaboration de Standards dans le Domaine de Navigation Intérieure).

The legislation will enter into force in 2028, after being approved by the European Parliament and the EU member states. And for the first time ever, the new regulation will simultaneously be implemented by EU member states and non-EU member states – depending of course on the non-EU member states' voluntary will to co-regulate the sector. 

At the ETF, our responsibility is to be at the heart of the discussions and negotiations planned along the way and to make sure no stone remains unturned when protecting workers on the inland waterways.

At our request, CESNI has set up additional consultations, as we want to ensure all our affiliates with members working in IWT are actively involved in adjusting the draft proposal according to their specific needs. Input is also being given from our social partners at the European Barge Union and the European Skippers Organization.

We encourage everyone to take a keen interest, as positions are constantly finetuned and revised. And every word counts! CESNI is expected to come up with a final draft proposal for the new manning regulation by this time next year.  Once the final advice is handed in to the European Commission; the EC will initiate the formal procedure for the new piece of EU legislation.

Members making a difference

The Nautilus contribution to the ETF inland waterways consultation is being led by the Union's Netherlands branch, with the input of lay representatives – members who represent their colleagues in the workplace. Nautilus is also directly involved with CESNI over a range of other matters.


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