January 08 - As of 2009, vessels carrying the new European safety certificate are allowed to navigate on all rivers in the Union, including the Rhine.

According to the new Community rules this single certificate is delivered on technical requirements for inland waterway vessels. 

Directive 2006/87/EC establishes harmonised conditions for issuing technical certificates for inland waterway vessels. It is aimed at increasing the safety of passengers and freight transport by inland waterway in Europe. The new certificate, delivered in compliance with the common requirements, is 
valid for navigation on all European inland waterways, including the Rhine. An EU statement says that the implementation of these common rules is a great step forward for the safety of inland waterway transport in Europe. 

The new Directive replaces 25-year-old technical rules1. It establishes high level safety standards, equivalent to those for shipping on the Rhine. These requirements can be adapted in the future to reflect technical progress. The previous certificate was not valid for navigation on the Rhine, through which the major part of Europe's inland waterway transport is channelled. 

Community waterways are classified into four different navigable zones. Depending on the zone, reduced or additional technical requirements may be applied by the Member States. The Directive also allows a number of derogations from the common rules, if justified by local navigation conditions. following decisions by the international river commissions in November and December 2008, the new certificate is also valid for navigation on the stretches of the Rhine and the Danube outside the EU territory. 

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/inland/index_en.htm