A key IMO-administered pollution response facility in the Mediterranean is to undertake a far-reaching programme of activities designed to help address the adverse effects of shipping on human health and marine ecosystems.
At their bi-annual meeting in Malta (11-13 June), focal points for the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC), have agreed:
- to continue developing and strengthening pollution response capacity and cooperation at national, sub-regional and regional levels
- to explore and establish synergies between the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean and the IMO action plan to address marine plastic litter from ships
- to examine further the possibility of designating the Mediterranean Sea area as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides under MARPOL Annex VI
- the need to define a sustainable and collaborative approach to implement the Offshore Protocol and its action plan effectively, and
- to launch a wide consultation process to prepare a draft post-2021 Mediterranean strategy for prevention of, and response to, marine pollution from ships involving all coastal States and relevant regional organizations
The meeting marked the 25th anniversary of the Mediterranean Assistance Unit (MAU), a group of experts and centres of expertise that can be mobilised by REMPEC in emergencies, and welcomed its latest member, the Adriatic Training and Research Centre for Accidental Marine Pollution Preparedness and Response.
More than 80 participants attended the meeting, from IMO, 19 Mediterranean coastal states, the European Union/European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), UN Environment, as well as other governmental and non-governmental organizations and shipping industry representatives.
Shipping activity in the Mediterranean has been rising considerably in recent highlighting the need for continued regional cooperation on pollution prevention and response. In particular, a rapid rise in cruise activity makes it now the world’s second busiest region for cruises.