Following the accident of the ERIKA off the French coast in 1999, the European Union adopted several legal instruments for improving the prevention of accidents at sea and combating marine pollution. A vessel traffic monitoring and information system was established through directive 2002/59/EC with a view to enhancing the safety and efficiency of maritime traffic, improving the response of authorities to incidents, accidents or potentially dangerous situations at sea, including search and rescue operations and contributing to a better prevention and detection of pollution by ships.

To achieve these objectives, the European Commission launched in 2001 the development of a European network - the so-called SafeSeaNet. The main objective of SafeSeaNet is to provide a European Platform for maritime data exchange between maritime administrations of the Member States to ensure the implementation of Community legislation. It is composed of a network of national SafeSeaNet systems in Member States and a SafeSeaNet central system acting as a nodal point.

Implementation of directives and other provisions from different instruments of European legislation, requires the collection and distribution of various kinds of data. These concern vessel traffic monitoring, dangerous cargo details, incidents and accidents reports and information related to ships’ waste. 
In Sweden, the Swedish Maritime Administration is responsible for compiling this information and has developed a vessel reporting system, SafeSeaNet Sweden, (former FRS) to which information regarding these requirements should be reported.

The reporting requirements are primarily based on Directives 2000/59/EC and 2002/59/EC. The Directive 2002/59/EC (the monitoring directive) were incorporated into Swedish legislation through the Swedish Maritime Administration’s Regulations and General Advice (SJÖFS 2005:19) on Notification Duty, Information Obligation and Reporting Obligation in Certain Circumstances. The regulations came into force on 1 January 2006 and since 1 January 2009, they have been under the responsibility of the Swedish Transport Agency.

Directive 2002/59/EC has been amended by eg Directive 2009/17/EC. The Swedish regulations have therefore been revised and as a result of that the Swedish Transport Agency publishes new regulations, titled the Swedish Transport Agency’s Regulations and General Advice (TSFS 2010:159) on Reporting Obligations for Ships in Certain Circumstances. The amended regulations come into force on 30 November 2010.