Astrea / News / Update on the New Belgian Maritime Security Act


Update on the New Belgian Maritime Security Act

Publications | Ruud De Houwer

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The Belgian federal council of ministers on Friday, 22th of April approved a bill that updates marine and maritime security law in the Belgian ports and marine areas under Belgian jurisdiction.

The new act will, in the first place, focus on port and port facility security, which is a core policy objective of Vice-Premier and Minister for North Sea Vincent Van Quickenborne given the high prevalence of illicit – drug-related – cargo entering the EU annually through Belgian ports.

Further, the new act will foresee additional legal basis, and will provide the competent authorities with increased tools, for denying foreign vessels access to Belgian ports. While this is in the first place relevant in the context of the war on drugs and traceability of cargo and personnel, the mechanisms included in the bill may also prove useful for implementation of international and European sanctions, such as the ones currently being imposed on Russian-owned vessels.

Thirdly, the act is to provide additional security mechanisms for offshore infrastructure, for which security plans will have to be implemented by the infrastructure operators, and approved by a national maritime security body, in a similar fashion to port facility security plans.

The bill is now submitted for advice to the Council of State. It is the Minister for North Sea’s intention that the act will enter into force in 2023.

Astrea has advised and litigated regularly on port and maritime security matters.