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Abstract

At the end of August 2012 the Polish Parliament enacted the Act on State Marine Accident Investigation Commission, which regulates its organization and operation. The Act transposed, within its regulation, Directive 2009/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 establishing the fundamental principles governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector and is based on the Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident (Casualty Investigation Code), issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) together with amendments to the SOLAS Convention. The purpose of the Directive, as well as the Casualty Investigation Code, is to improve maritime safety and the prevention of pollution by ships by facilitating the expeditious holding of safety investigations and proper analysis of marine casualties and incidents in order to determine their causes. The EU Parliament obliged, through the Directive, the EU Member States to ensure that the safety investigations are conducted under the responsibility of an impartial permanent investigative body, endowed with the necessary powers, and by suitably qualified investigators, competent in matters relating to marine casualties and incidents. This impartial permanent investigative body had been named in Poland: Państwowa Komisja Badania Wypadków Morskich [the State Marine accident Investigation Commission] and began its operation in May 2013 upon the appointment, by the Minister of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy, of the third one of five statutory members of the Commission. Since the beginning of its activity the Commission has initiated 77 safety investigations, prepared and adopted 272 resolutions, published 53 safety reports and issued more than 30 safety recommendations. The establishment and activity of the Commission leads to greater awareness of casualty causation and has a positive impact on the level of maritime safety.
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