More scientific research needs to be done to understand and assess the environmental impacts of wastes from mining operations which have been disposed into the marine environment, a new report shows. The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) report, Impacts of mine tailings in the marine environment, provides the findings of an international workshop held in Lima, Peru (in 2015) and makes a number of recommendations for future work. The report notes that there are major gaps that need to be addressed in the scientific understanding of the behaviour of mine tailings in the sea at depths greater than 20m to 80 m and consequently the short- and long-term impacts on the marine environment and other potential users of marine resources. Scientific gaps in measurement and monitoring techniques in assessing impacts of existing and proposed new deep-sea discharges of mine tailings need to be addressed. Since the workshop, GESAMP has established a dedicated working group to assess the environmental impacts of wastes from mining operations which have been disposed into the marine environment, under the co-lead of IMO and UN Environment.
A number of large-scale mines worldwide use marine or riverine disposal for mine tailings, under Government permits. IMO is the Secretariat for The Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), which is an advisory body, established in 1969, that advises the United Nations (UN) system on the scientific aspects of marine environmental protection. Reports and studies published by GESAMP are freely available on the GESAMP website.
Work to support the smooth and effective implementation of the 0.5% m/m global sulphur cap on fuel oil used by ships will be a main focus for the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR), 4th session, which meets this week (16-20 January). The Sub-Committee will consider what additional measures may be needed to promote consistent implementation and will report with a justification and scope for further work to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 71), which meets in July. The MEPC decided at its last session to implement the 0.5% limit from 1 January 2020.
On other matters, the Sub-Committee is expected to finalize the draft code for the transport and handling of limited amounts of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk in offshore support vessels; complete the "Ballast Water Management – How to do it" manual; and finalize the draft updates to the set of model training courses for oil pollution prevention, response and cooperation (OPRC model courses). Other subjects on the agenda for the meeting include: the revision of guidelines relating to marine diesel engines fitted with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to reduce NOx emissions; black carbon; requirements for high-viscosity and persistent floating substances; and the ongoing evaluation of noxious liquid substances for shipment as bulk liquids.
The meeting was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr Sveinung Oftedal (Norway).
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A meeting in Singapore (11-12 January) has seen African and
Asian countries join efforts to promote greater networking and communications
across anti-piracy contact points in the two continents. Speaking at the
meeting, IMO’s Head of Maritime Security, Javier Yasnikouski, commended the
initiative, saying that the efforts contribute directly to IMO’s work to raise
awareness of maritime security issues that have an impact on international
trade and the welfare of seafarers; and encourage a co-operative approach
amongst IMO Member States and other partner organizations.
The event was organized by the Maritime and Port Authority
of Singapore (MPA) and the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy
and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre
(ISC) and was followed up by a Nautical forum to share ReCAAP-ISC’s analyses of
piracy and sea robbery incidents in Asia, and to engage the local shipping
The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ghana
Maritime Authority (GMA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency
(NIMASA), the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Authority (MMEA), the Maritime
Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG), the International
Maritime Bureau (IMB), the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UK-MTO),
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Shipping Centre, the Information
Sharing Centre and the Police Coastguard of Singapore, and the Djibouti Code of
Conduct (DCoC) Information Sharing Centres of Kenya and Yemen.
IMO Headquarters in London is
the venue today and tomorrow (12-13 January) for the 6th Ballast Water Technology
Conference organized by IMarEST. Opening the meeting, IMO Secretary-General
Kitack Lim reminded delegates that the Ballast
Water Management Convention actively addressed the problem of transferring
invasive species, which has been degrading the marine environment for decades.
He said the Convention, which enters
into force in September this year, would set clear and robust standards for
how to manage ballast water on ships, and that shipping must embrace it if the
industry wants a sustainable future.
The event followed the two-day
annual meeting of the GloBal
TestNet, an independent entity created under the Global Industry Alliance
(GIA) of the GloBallast Project, executed by IMO.
New Zealand is the latest country to accede to IMO’s Ballast
Water Management Convention,
designed to counter the threat to marine ecosystems by potentially invasive
species transported in ships' ballast water. The Convention enters into force
on 8 September 2017 and will require ships to manage their ballast water, which
can contain thousands of aquatic or marine microbes, plants and organisms,
which are then carried across the globe.
H.E. Sir Lockwood Smith, High Commissioner of New Zealand to
the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters,
London (9 January) to deposit the instrument of accession. This brings the
number of States party to the Convention to 54, representing 53.30% of the
world's merchant fleet tonnage.
Slovenia has acceded to the IMO treaty dealing with compulsory
insurance covering passengers on ships. The 2002 Athens
Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea sets the limits of liability for incidents on a ship involving
passengers, including death of or personal injury to a passenger and loss of or
damage to luggage and vehicles. H.E. Mr. Tadej Rupel,
Ambassador of Slovenia, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to deposit the
instrument of accession, today (9 January).
IMO measures covering the carriage of dangerous goods in
packaged form (IMDG
Code) and solid bulk cargoes (IMSBC
Code) were on the agenda at a regional training course in Beijing, China
(12-16 December). Shore-side personnel involved in managing such cargoes
received training on how to identify, classify, pack, label, handle, store,
load, stow, unload and transport them correctly. Participants came from
countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The activity included a visit to the Port of Tianjin, which currently processes some 550 million tons of cargo per year.
Participants were introduced to the port’s management strategy, and visited the
vessel traffic service centre, which carefully monitors and tracks dangerous
goods and solid bulk cargoes within the port’s boundaries.
The event was organized under the Memorandum of
Understanding on technical cooperation between IMO and the Ministry of
Communications of the People's Republic of China, and in collaboration with the
China Maritime Safety Administration and the Waterborne Transport Research
Institute. IMO was represented by Alfredo Parroquín-Ohlson and Bingbing Song of
the Maritime Safety Division and a team of international consultants.
An overview of worldwide emission control policies and technologies has been presented at an international workshop in Hong Kong, China (14 to 16 December 2016). IMO’s Heike Deggim outlined the current regulations and recent work in the Marine Environment Protection Committee to an audience of government officials, international shipping industry representatives, academics and environmental non-governmental organizations. The presentation covered IMO regulations to control air pollution emissions from ships, including SOx and NOx, and energy efficiency requirements, aimed at cutting CO2 emissions from international shipping. The Motor Vehicle/Vessel Emission Control (MoVE2016) Workshop was jointly organized by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the People’s Republic of China; the Environmental Protection Department, Hong Kong, China; and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
workshop aimed at finalizing guidelines which will provide practical
information on responding to significant marine pollution incidents,
concluded in Malta this week (14-15 December). The guide
also provides a comprehensive overview of the cooperation and mutual assistance
in cases of emergency in the Mediterranean region as a whole. The event,
organized by REMPEC, gathered representatives of the contracting parties
to the Barcelona
Convention and other organizations interested in arrangements in the field of oil spill preparedness and response and Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS). IMO
was represented by Colleen O’Hagan.
As the global regulatory body for international shipping,
IMO has developed and adopted more than 50 international conventions and
protocols, supported by more than 1,000 codes and recommendations. For these instruments to be properly understood and
implemented globally, the Organization’s Member States rely on swift and accurate
translation of the great volume of technical documents, particularly in IMO’s
three working languages – English, French and Spanish.
With this in mind, IMO translators and maritime safety division staff have been given
first-hand experience of facilities and vessels at the Port of Barcelona, Spain
(12-14 December).The training visit included a tour of a refit shipyard for
superyachts and presentations on the roles of the local maritime authority and
national Spanish Maritime Safety Agency. Participants also gained valuable
insight into gas-fuelled engines – with an in-depth tour of the passenger ferry
Abel Matutes, the first vessel in the Mediterranean to include a [30-m3]
liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine for use in port.
Indeed, the safety of gas-fuelled ships is firmly on the agenda
for 2017 – with IMO’s new mandatory IGF
code set to enter into force in January. The code aims to minimize the risk
to ships, their crews and the environment, given the nature of the fuels
latest efforts to support countries to implement air pollution and energy
efficiency measures for ships were underway at a workshop in Hangzou, China
this week (12-14 December). The regional event involved Port State Control
Officers responsible for inspection and enforcement of the rules in IMO’s MARPOL
Annex VI treaty. Thirty participants from countries that have signed up to
the Tokyo MoU on Port State Control in
the Asia-Pacific took part in the training – the first exercise of its kind to
be carried out under IMO’s GloMEEP
The workshop included a visit to the Zhejiang Institute of
Communications campus, including the marine college’s marine engine simulator
room, bridge simulators and seafarers training centre. The
workshop was hosted by the Zhejiang Institute of Communications and China Maritime
Safety Administration. IMO is represented by Astrid Dispert and a team of
A regional seminar for the Africa Francophone region has provided the knowledge and information countries may need to ratify and implement the IMO Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety. This key treaty sets international standards for the safety of fishing vessels. The instrument is important because currently there is no international regime in force covering fishing vessel safety, including construction, life-saving appliances and other essential safety measures. To assist in implementation of the Cape Town Agreement, IMO, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), has been running a series of seminars for governments. The latest seminar in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (12 to 16 December) was attended by participants from 12 countries in the Africa Francophone region. The seminar was facilitated by IMO’s Sandra Allnutt and Honorat Hoba, FAO’s Ari Gudmundsson and a consultant.
An energy efficiency workshop for Pacific Island countries and territories has been held in Port Vila, Vanuatu (12-14 December). The event helped participants gain knowledge and tools to develop national strategies and clear policies to improve energy efficiency in maritime and port infrastructures, to use alternative and cleaner fuels and to increase awareness of energy-efficiency measures. IMO’s Edmund Hughes delivered a presentation (via remote participation) on policy and strategy for energy efficiency in maritime transport. The workshop was delivered by the Pacific Community (SPC), in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and was funded by IMO. There were 51 participants in Vanuatu, from across the region, including nine from the SPC.
has become the 111th State to accede to the International Convention on Oil
Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC).
The IMO treaty establishes measures for dealing with pollution incidents,
either nationally or in cooperation with other countries. Mr. Kyaw Htin Lin,
Minister Counsellor of the Embassy of Myanmar in the United Kingdom, deposited the
instrument at IMO Headquarters in London, today (15 December).
seminar looking at maritime security issues ranging from cyber security on
board ships to piracy and illegal maritime activities concluded in Copenhagen
IMO`s Chris Trelawny chaired a
panel on maritime terrorism, exploring how the International Ship and
Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code), could support
actions against illegal maritime activities. Hosted by BIMCO, the event gathered over 60 participants from the
maritime industry and also discussed
constructive proposals presenting immediate and long term solutions to counter various maritime security threats.
in China are the first to undergo a newly developed course designed to assist maritime training institutes to introduce the topic of
energy-efficient ship operation into their teaching curriculums. More than
30 participants from maritime universities, shipping colleges and
institutes from across China are attending the workshop, taking place in
Hangzhou (8-9 December).
The course, developed
under IMO’s GloMEEP project, will
help maritime training institutes to deliver IMO’s Model
Course 4.05 to seafarers. It consists of a series of lectures,
interactive exercises and videos to enhance the learning experience
and ensure there are properly trained crews who can contribute
to efficient shipping. In this way the course supports IMO’s
environmental protection goals by spreading industry best practices
that can reduce fuel consumption from ships and associated greenhouse
IMO has designed a series of model courses to support implementation of
IMO Conventions and to facilitate access to the knowledge and
skills demanded by increasingly sophisticated maritime technology.
The GloMEEP workshop is hosted by the Zhejiang Institute
of Communications and China Maritime Safety Administration. IMO
is represented by Astrid Dispert and a team of consultants.
A meeting of salvage and wreck professionals in
London, United Kingdom has been introduced to IMO’s Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention.
The treaty provides the legal basis for States to remove, or have
removed, shipwrecks that may threaten the safety of lives, goods and property
at sea, as well as the marine environment. IMO’s Jan De Boer outlined the Convention’s
key provisions in a session on “Operating within guidelines, conventions and
authorities’ requirements” at the 19th Salvage & Wreck Removal Conference (7-9
December). These provisions include uniform international
rules for the prompt and effective removal of wrecks located beyond territorial
seas, and optional application of the rules in countries’ territories,
including territorial seas.
The effective implementation of IMO garbage regulations (MARPOL Annex V) on ships and in port reception facilities was the main focus of an IMO regional workshop on marine litter for the East Asian seas region, held in Jeju, Republic of Korea (5-8 December). Participants shared experiences of implementing marine litter requirements. Site visits included the waste oil disposal facility and clean-up vessel operated by the Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM), which hosted the workshop. The event was also aimed at supporting the implementation of the Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter under the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA RAP-MALI). Participants came from Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. IMO’s Jun Sun provided an update on MARPOL Annex V requirements.
IMO has signed a unique agreement to strengthen cooperation
with the technical body whose members undertake ship survey and certification
duties on behalf of IMO Member States. The International Association of
Classification Societies (IACS) represents so-called Recognised Organizations
(ROs) at IMO. Survey and certification is vital to the effective implementation
of IMO measures and ROs must comply with a mandatory code developed by IMO in
order to undertake this important technical work for the Member States. Under
the terms of the agreement (signed on 7 December), IMO and IACS will exchange technical information on
a regular basis and strengthen existing lines of dialogue between the two
A recent visit to Cabo Verde (30 November-6 December) by IMO provided an opportunity to meet various Government agencies involved with maritime security and discuss the country’s future role in regional maritime security activities. Cabo Verde has announced its intention to host the MultiNational Centre of Coordination (for Cabo Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal) under the proposed operational framework to support the wider region’s maritime security Code of Conduct, which was signed by governments, including Cabo Verde, in 2013, to enhance cooperation to counter piracy and armed robbery at sea and other illicit maritime activity. The framework plans for five Multinational Centres of Coordination which will each report to one of the two regional centres (one for west and one for central Africa), which will in turn report to the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre that was established in 2014 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
IMO’s Gisela Vieira held meetings with a number of Cabo Verde government agencies, including the Maritime Authority, Agencia Maritima Portuaria (AMP), which hosted the visit; the Coast Guard, Fisheries, Borders Police and Ministry of Justice. Site visits included the new Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) Maritime Control Centre, located in Praia, which is due to be inaugurated in March 2017 and the VTS centre in Mindelo.
Ms. Vieira also visited the COSMAR (Centro de Operacoes de Seguranca Maritima - Center for Maritime Security Operations), which was formed in 2010 as an interagency centre for maritime security operations, allowing authorities in Cabo Verde to enhance coordination among the various entities involved in the maritime domain. COSMAR is able to gather information related to illicit acts committed on Cape Verde jurisdictional waters, with radar and satellite images, and transfer relevant data to other national agencies.
IMO was also represented at the second annual meeting of the G7 Friends of the Gulf of Guinea Group (G7++FOGG), which met in Praia, Cabo Verde on 2 December.
Piracy, armed robbery and border security scenarios are
being played out in a table top exercise for officials in Conakry, Guinea (6-8
December). The IMO-led event is the latest in a long series of exercises held
in the West Africa region to promote security measures in IMO treaties,
particularly the SOLAS
chapter XI-2 and ISPS Code. Further scenarios include threats to cruise
ships, incidents potentially involving weapons of mass destruction, drugs,
environmental threats such as oil spills, and maritime safety inspections.
The exercise is also covering the region’s maritime security
Conduct, which was
signed by governments, including Guinea, in 2013, to enhance cooperation to
counter piracy and armed robbery at sea and other illicit maritime
activity. IMO is thereby continuing its efforts to promote a
multi-agency, whole of Government approach to maritime security and maritime
law enforcement issues.
The event is hosted by the Direction Nationale de la Marine
Marchande in Guinea. IMO is represented by a maritime security consultant.
IMO was among the participants at the eighteenth international meeting on Large Marine Ecosystems, where project leaders discussed and shared best practices related to capacity-building programmes covering marine ecosystems, coastal management, biodiversity and coastal climate change adaptation. The conference was held at the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) headquarters in Paris, France (6-8 December). IMO’s Antoine Blonce represented the GloBallast Partnerships Programme, a Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-IMO project which is being executed by IMO to assist developing countries to reduce the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ships’ ballast water and implement the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention. The 18th Annual Large Marine Ecosystems Meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the contribution of GEF-funded and other marine projects to implement of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, particularly SDG 14 related to the oceans, ahead of the forthcoming UN Conference (June 2017) to support the implementation of SDG 14.
Facilitation of maritime traffic
is on the agenda at a national seminar being held in Manila, the Philippines
(6-8 December), with thirty participants from ministries responsible for
clearing ships, cargo, crew and passengers at ports of the Philippines, and
private stakeholders. The workshop is assisting the Philippines with the
ratification process of IMO’s Convention on Facilitation of International
Maritime Traffic (FAL), which is designed to help prevent unnecessary delays in
The workshop will cover recent
developments in the FAL Convention that were adopted by the IMO’s FAL
Committee in April 2016. The participants are also being advised on the
benefits of using maritime single window and electronic data interchange in
facilitating ship clearance.
The event is organized by IMO and
the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
IMO is represented by Julian Abril, Cagri Kucukyildiz, regional coordinator Josephine Uranza and consultant.
Belarus has acceded to three IMO treaties covering a variety
of ship safety measures. The instruments include conventions on load lines and facilitation
of maritime traffic. Ambassador of Belarus to the United Kingdom, H.E. Mr. Sergei
Aleinik, met IMO Secretary-General at IMO Headquarters in London (5 December)
to deposit the instruments of accession. The visit comes one week after the
Organization welcomed Belarus as its latest and 172nd Member State.
The treaties acceded to are:
- the Convention on Facilitation
of International Maritime Traffic, 1965
- the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International
Convention on Load Lines, 1966
- the Protocol of 1988 relating to the International Convention
of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS),
The role of the marine industry in supporting the United
Nations Sustainable Development Goals was addressed at the 2016 World Ocean Council
Sustainable Ocean Summit
in Rotterdam, Netherlands (30 November-2
December). IMO’s Theofanis Karayannis gave an insight into how the Organization
supports ocean sustainability, including work to mitigate climate change
through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions form ships and IMO’s work to
address biofouling and the transport of potentially invasive aquatic species.
In line with the Summit’s theme “Ocean 2030: Sustainable
Development Goals and the Ocean Business Community”, Mr. Karayannis highlighted
major IMO projects that feature strong cooperation and partnership with
industry and promote sustainable development. These include the GloMEEP project – a
GEF-UNDP-IMO initiative that supports the uptake and implementation of
energy efficiency measures for shipping, thereby reducing greenhouse gas