Science Day

Science Day under the Scientific Groups of the London Convention and London Protocol

The Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol hold a Science Day as part of their Scientific Group meetings each year in an effort to broaden their shared scientific understanding of a topic in a more informal setting. In some cases, a symposium format is adopted where presentations and a summary of proceedings are shared publicly after the session and speakers may be invited that are not otherwise participating in the meeting.

Science Day 2023 "Emerging technologies in marine geoengineering"

 In 2022 the governing bodies, recognizing the growing interest in marine geoengineering techniques and their potential to cause pollution or other adverse effects on the marine environment, approved a statement on marine geoengineering and agreed that the topic for Science Day 2023 would be emerging technologies in marine geoengineering. 

The event was held as a full day symposium on Thursday 16 March 2023 in Casablanca, Morocco, as part of the LC/LP Scientific Groups meetings (LC/SG 46/LP/SG 17), and was presided over by the First Vice-Chair of the Scientific Groups, Dr. Cristian Mugnai (Italy). 

The Science Day programme included high-level presentations from a range of expert speakers representing applied science, governments, university and agencies. Those speakers shared experiences gained, research activities, and assessments being undertaken, etc., as they related to: 

  • Research issues related to deep ocean processes, such as nutrient and carbon cycle;
  • Climate change induced modifications in oceanic ecosystems, including ocean alkalinity modification;
  • Experimental projects on controlling environmental processes, such as ocean fertilization, carbon storage, increasing of ocean reflectivity, marine cloud brightening etc.
  • Measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) of ocean based MGE methods; and
  • Assessment of benefits and of potential impact of emerging techniques

The Chair of the Scientific Groups, Commander Enrique Vargas Guerra (Chile) provided introductory remarks and outlined the programme was comprised of the following presentations:

  1.  “The London Protocol & London Convention”, Dr. Andrew Birchenough Office for London Convention/Protocol and Ocean Affairs, Marine Environment Division, IMO;Birchenough_LCLP Science Day 2023.pdf
  2.  “The amendment of 2013 on Marine Geoengineering”, Dr. Harald Ginzky German Environment Agency Department: General Aspects Water and Soils, Germany;Ginzky_LCLP Science Day 2023.pdf
  3. “Progress made by GESAMP Working Group 41 on ‘Ocean interventions for climate change mitigation’”, Dr. Chris Vivian Co-chair of GESAMP WG 41, the United Kingdom;Vivian_LCLP Science Day 2023.pdf
  4. “Some perspectives on marine geoengineering from the (wider) NGO community”, Dr. David Santillo, David Santillo, Greenpeace Research Laboratories (Greenpeace International) the United Kingdom;Santillo_LCLP Science Day 2023.pdf
  5. “CDRmare research activities and current state of knowledge on marine CO2 removal options”, Dr. Andreas Oschlies (virtual attendance) GEOMAR - Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Germany; SG_Oschlies_new.mp4
  6. “An inventory of marine geoengineering projects”, Dr. Chris Vivian Co-chair of GESAMP WG 41, the United Kingdom;
  7. “The Emerging Regime Complex for Marine Geoengineering”, Prof. Neil Craik Professor of Law, University of Waterloo Canada; Craik_LCLP Science Day 2023.pdf
  8. “The Sargasso Sea Commission: navigating into uncharted waters”, Prof. David Freestone Executive Secretary Sargasso Sea Commission,the United States; Freestone_LCLP Science Day 2023.pdf
  9.  “Ocean alkalinity enhancement and the mitigation of ocean deoxygenation”, Prof. Douglas Wallace Oceanography Department Dalhousie University,Canada; Wallace_LCLP Science Day 2023.pdf
  10.  “National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) carbon dioxide removal interest”, Dr. Gabriella Kitch (virtual attendance) NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, the United States.Kitch_2023ScienceDay.mp4

The presentations were followed by constructive discussions which focused on the following issues: concern in performing MGE techniques; potential benefit in the deployment vs risks; the definition of nature -based solutions;  critical issues in marine CDR and Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV); the need for the sharing of data; and ‘new’ theme of reoxygenation of the marine environment, using oxygen from hydrogen industry. 

Science Day 2022: Alternative uses of waste    

The Contracting Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol have developed Generic and Specific Waste Assessment Guidelines (WAGs), to assist Parties with targeted assessments of each of wastes or other matter that may be considered for disposal at sea. An essential part of the WAGs is the consideration of waste management options, that includes undertaking a comparative risk assessment of the alternatives to disposal at sea. 

Therefore in 2021, the governing bodies endorsed "Alternative uses of waste" as a suitable topic for Science Day 2022. 

The event was held virtually on the Zoom platform and was attended by 110 participants, plus those who watched via live streaming through IMODOCS. It was presided by the First Vice-Chair of the LC/LP Scientific Groups, Dr. Cristian Mugnai (Italy), assisted by the Second Vice-Chair, Mr. Ulric Van Bloemestein (South Africa). 

The Science Day programme included high-level presentations from a range of expert speakers representing applied science, governments, port authorities, and private companies. Those speakers shared experiences gained, research activities, and assessments being undertaken, etc., in relation to alternative uses of waste as they relate to: 

  • beneficial uses of dredged materials including, among others land restoration,  

  • land recreation, use in agriculture or as a building material; 

  • habitat modification and enhancement; 

  • experience on reuse of waste materials in view of circular economy; 

  • legislative barriers/implementation of legislation; and 

  • any other issues related to the alternative management of material listed in annex 1 of the London Protocol (LP). 

The programme was comprised of the following seven presentations:

  1.  Alternative use of dredged material: state of legislation and experimental projects by Dr. Cristian Mugnai, Technologist, Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), Italy; LCLP SG Science Day 2022_01 Mugnai.pdf
  2.  Sustainable reuse - recycling solutions in France for dredged sediments, by Ms. Virginie Amant and Ms. Agathe Denot, Centre for Studies on Risks, the Environment, Mobility and Urban Planning (CEREMA), France; LCLP SG Science Day 2022_02 Amant and Denot.pdf
  3.  Alternative uses of dredged material: processes, case studies and lessons learned, by Ms. Charlotte Clarke and Ms. Lynsey Gregory, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), United Kingdom; LCLP SG Science Day 2022_ 03 Clarke and Gregory.pdf
  4.  Alternative use of dredged material: Outer Port Project - San Antonio, Chile, by Mr. Daniel Ruz, Civil Engineer, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Puerto de San Antonio, Chile; LCLP SG Science Day 2022_04 Ruz.pdf
  5.  Application of clean dredged material as a thin layer cap for sequestration and isolation of sediment associated contaminates, by Mr. David Moore, Research Biologist, Lead - ERDC Program for Emerging Contaminants United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE),  United States; LCLP SG Science Day 2022_05 Moore.pdf
  6.  Beneficial Use of Contaminated Sediment, by Mr. John Toll, Managing Partner at Windward Environmental LLC, United States;   LCLP SG Science Day 2022_06 Toll.pdf  and 
  7.  Engineering with Nature: "Making the most with what you've got", by Dr. Todd Bridges, Research Scientist (ST) for Environmental Science, USACE; Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS, United States. LCLP SG Science Day 2022_07 Bridges.pdf

Following the presentations, a lively question and answer session was held during which a number of issues were discussed, including: the definition of beneficial uses and barriers to use; management options; the legislation in force and further updates; experimental programmes and examples in different countries; application of novel techniques; environmental effects; literature reviews and nature-based solutions and communication.

 A link to the recording of the virtual event will be added shortly. 


Science Day 2021: Experience with comparative risk assessment for decommissioning of platforms and the disposal of vessels"

Science day 2021 pic for website.jpg

In 2019, following the approval of the Revised Specific Guidelines for Assessment of Platforms or Other Man-made Structures at Sea, the LC/LP governing bodies agreed that a suitable topic for Science Day 2020 would be "Experience with comparative risk assessment for decommissioning of platforms and the disposal of vessels". Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the event was postponed and subsequently held on Thursday, 15 April 2021.

The event was held virtually on the Zoom platform and was attended by 162 participants, plus those who watched via live streaming through IMODOCS. It was presided by the First Vice-Chair of the LC/LP Scientific Groups, Dr. Cristian Mugnai (Italy), assisted by the Second Vice-Chair, Mr. Ulric Van Bloemestein (South Africa).

The Science Day programme included high-level presentations from a range of expert speakers representing industry, applied science, academia, industry founded research and private companies. Those speakers shared experiences gained, lessons learned, research activities and  assessments being undertaken, etc., in relation to the decommissioning of platforms and the disposal of vessels as they relate to the:

  • decommissioning of offshore platforms: from research to regulation, highlighting case studies;
  • assessment of risks to the environment and human health as it relates to the decommissioning of platforms and other man-made structures, including novel techniques; and
  • any issues related to the management of end-of-life vessels and platforms.

The programme was comprised of the following presentations:

  1. The London Convention and London Protocol: progress by the LC/LP on the assessment of vessels and platforms for disposal at sea by Dr. Andrew Birchenough, Office for London Convention/Protocol and Ocean Affairs, Marine Environment Division, IMO; Presentation
  2. Offshore platform decommissioning: a view from the waterline, by Mr. Win Thornton, VP Decommissioning, BP and Chair of IOGP Decommissioning Committee, United States; Presentation
  3. The INSITE programme: Describing the role of man-made structures in the ecosystem of the North Sea, by Mr. Richard Heard, Programme Director, Influence of man-made Structures in the Ecosystem (INSITE), United Kingdom; Presentation
  4. Science in support of ecologically sound decommissioning strategies for offshore man-made structures: taking stock of current knowledge and considering future challenges, by Dr. Silvana Birchenough, Principal Ecologist, Advice and Assessment Group Manager, Centre for aquatic and environmental science (Cefas), United Kingdom; Presentation
  5. Marine ecology and oil and gas platforms in the context of decommissioning, by Professor David M. Paterson, Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, Executive Director of MASTS, United Kingdom; Presentation
  6. New environmental data gathering technologies in support of Net Environmental Benefit Analysis (NEBA) for decommissioning, by Mr. Peter Oliver, Senior Environmental Scientist, Environmental Technology Unit, Chevron Energy Technology Company, Aberdeen, United Kingdom; Presentation 
  7. A technical presentation about worker welfare, environment and vessel decommissioning, by Mr. Wouter Rozenveld, Director, Sea2Cradle B.V., Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Presentation
  8. The discussions which followed in the question and answer session addressed: the progression of global decommissioning; the ecosystem functioning affected by the presence of man-made structures; new environmental data collection techniques able to improve the understanding of the environmental impacts of decommissioning, and vessel decommissioning and recycling.

A recording of the virtual event can be viewed via the link below:



Science Day 2019 - Practical and achievable monitoring techniques

Monitoring plays an important role in preventing pollution of the marine environment from ocean dumping. It also provides further critical feedback on the effectiveness of individual permit conditions, the evaluation process used in the permitting process, and the management of specific disposal sites.  Monitoring is an essential element of the in the Waste Assessment Guidelines and is used in two distinctive ways: compliance monitoring, which verifies that permit conditions were met and; field monitoring, which determines whether assumptions made during the permit review and site selection process were correct and sufficient to protect the environment and human health.  

In 2016 and 2017 the IMO published guidance documents providing provide practical information about using low cost and low technology tools that are useful for monitoring of possible environmental impacts associated with disposal at sea and about using low cost and low technology approaches that are useful for monitoring compliance with permit conditions associated with the disposal of waste materials or other matter. These documents represented several years of efforts by the LC/LP Scientific Groups and therefore "Practical and achievable monitoring techniques" was deemed a suitable and relevant topic for Science Day 2019.

It was held as a one-day Science Day symposium which took place on Thursday, 21 March 2019 at the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Contracting Parties are invited to share experiences, research activities, and assessments being undertaken, etc., in relation to practical and achievable monitoring techniques as they related to:

  • The disposal of waste or other matter listed in Annex 1 of the London Protocol (e.g. dredged material, fish waste, organic material, vessels and platforms, etc.);
  • Marine litter and microplastics;
  • Underwater noise; and
  • The application of low cost, low technology field and compliance monitoring guidance.

The Scientific Groups were offered the following presentations:

  1. "Monitoring in the London Convention/Protocol context and relevant global initiatives", by Linda Porebski, Chair of the Scientific Groups/ Environment and Climate Change Canada;
  2. "Ocean pollution priorities: where do we start?", Peter S. Ross, Vice-President of Research at Ocean Wise, Vancouver;10.00 London Convention meeting 2019 PSR.pdf
  3. "Collaboration between Tsleil-Wautuh Nation and Canada on Disposal at Sea Decisions and Monitoring", by Erin Hansen, Lands and Resources Department, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Garth Mullins, Environment and Climate Change Canada;Science Day Presentation TWN & ECCC.pdf
  4. "Some pointers on Practical and Achievable Monitoring of Dredging from "Dredging for Sustainable Infrastructure" and Beyond!", by Mark Lee, HR Wallingford/WODA/CEDA;11.30 IMO Scientific Group 21st March 19_FIN.pdf
  5. "Comprehensive management system of ocean dumping activities in the Republic of Korea", by Chang-Joon Kim, KIOST (Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology), Republic of Korea; 2019 Science day_Rep Korea_submit (1).pdf
  6. "Monitoring of Seafood Processing Waste Disposal in Alaska, United States" and "U.S. EPA's monitoring of nearshore dredged material disposal in the Eastern Pacific" , by Bridgette Lohrman, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; US_SeafoodWaste_Mar2019_Final.pdf
  7. "Bathymetric differential: a useful tool for environmental or compliance monitoring of disposal at sea sites", by Vicki Da Silva-Casimiro, Environment and Climate Change Canada; 20190320 QRmonitoring.pdf  and
  8. "ECHO Program - Monitoring underwater noise to understand the effects of vessel traffic on whales", by Krista Trounce, Fraser Port Authority, Canada.2019-03-12 - IMO Science Day 2019_ECHO Program presentation.pdf

The presentations were followed by a lively discussion which highlighted the importance of monitoring to the effective implementation of the London Convention and London Protocol. 


Science Day 2018 - Plastics and microplastics in the marine environment including impacts on aquaculture activities

Following the LP/LC governing bodies 2016 statement to encourage action to combat marine litter and to address the increasing global recognition and concern of the issue of plastics and microplastics in the marine environment, this issue was the topic for Science Day 2018. It was held as a one-day symposium on 3 May 2018 at the Maritime Training and Education Center (CIMAR), Valparaíso, Chile, and presided by the First Vice-Chair of the Scientific Groups (Commander Enrique Vargas).

Themes for discussion included:

  • International, regional and national initiatives addressing marine litter and microplastics and how these relate to the work of the LC/LP;
  • Sources and pathways for plastics to end up in waste streams under the LC/LP (in particular dredged material and sewage sludge) and how can these be controlled;
  • Detecting plastics and microplastics in waste streams under the LC/LP;
  • Impacts of plastics on aquaculture activities and how these can be addressed; and
  • Best practices and experiences in aquaculture activities to manage and reduce marine litter and plastics into the marine environment.

The aim of the symposium was to improve our understanding of plastics and microplastics in the marine environment in relation to the waste streams under the LC/LP and to identify and propose further solutions and actions to address this problem through the LC/LP. The program included a range of speakers from academia, science and government, representing various regions of the world, sharing experiences and scientific knowledge in relation to the different sources and spatial distribution of marine litter, plastics and microplastics in the oceans and their impacts in the marine environment, marine life and resources including the food chain. Presentations also addressed efforts made by some countries to reduce plastic waste and prevent marine litter and microplastic pollution in the marine environment, including environmental policies implemented in relation to regulate the extended producer responsibility for plastics and introduction of bans or taxes for single-use plastic bags.

The presentations and presenter's biographies can be found here:

Science Day 2018 Presentations Science Day 2018


Science Day 2017 -  Waste prevention audits

An integral part of the generic and specific waste assessment guidelines. Waste prevention audits can, and are, used to decrease the amount of waste or pollutants that enter the world’s oceans and so have a paramount importance for the implementation LC/LP.

A waste prevention audit is carried out in order to evaluate: (i) the types, amounts and relative hazard of wastes generated; (ii) waste sources and; (iii) the feasibility of waste reduction and prevention techniques.
Generally, in relation to dredged material, the goal of a waste prevention audit is to identify and control the contamination sources. Contamination of the marine environment can be a consequence of historical and present day inputs both of which can present a problem for the management of estuarine and marine sediments. The presence of plastics and microplastics has been highlighted as a particular concern. Priority should be given to the identification of sources, as well as the reduction and prevention of further contamination of sediments from both point and diffuse sources. A waste prevention strategy is often developed using information gained from a waste prevention audit, and such strategies can provide both short-term and long-term solutions for the identified problems. Successful implementation of waste prevention strategies often requires collaboration among stakeholders and competent authorities with responsibility for the control of contaminant sources.

The Science Day session on "Waste prevention audits" was held on Thursday, 30th March 2017, in IMO headquarters and presided by First and Second Vice-Chairman the Scientific Groups (Commander Enrique Vargas and Dr Andrew Birchenough). The Scientific Groups were offered the following presentations:

  1. ‘’EPA's Trash Free Waters Program: a Strategic Approach to Reduce Trash in Aquatic Systems’’, by Betsy Valente, United States;
  2. ‘’Cefas Marine Litter Activities’’, by Thomas Maes, Cefas/United Kingdom;
  3. ‘’Sources of Micro plastics (Styrofoam buoy)’’, by Gi Hoon-Hong, Republic of Korea;
  4. ‘’Sediment Management and Source Control, the Port of Rotterdam Case’’, by Tiedo Velinger, Port of Rotterdam/WODA;
  5. ‘’The Application of Waste Prevention Audits in South Africa’’, by Ulric van Bloemestein and Nokuzola Sukwana, South Africa; and
  6. ‘’Waste Prevention Audits for Wood Waste’’, by Suzanne Agius, Canada.
A discussion followed which highlighted the importance of waste prevention audit within the process of assessing wastes and reducing marine pollution. There was also concern raised over the issue of microplastics and how they could be addressed in future through the LC LP.

The presentations can be downloaded in  zip-files here:

Science day 1 -2017

Science day 2 -2017


Science Day 2016 - Environmental management of deep seabed mining

There has been renewed interest in deep-seabed mining (DSM) over the last decade because of the growing demand for metals, the increasingly inaccessible and degraded land-based deposits and advances in technology.

Exploration for the three main types of mineral deposits in international waters is regulated by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and through national legislation when a proposed mining project is located within the exclusive economic zone or legal continental shelf of a country. DSM has yet to take place in international waters, however exploration is taking place in national waters with deep-sea mining set to begin off the coast of Papua New Guinea in 2018 with the Solwara 1 project.

Much of the focus of DSM is in the South Pacific region and the Deep Sea Minerals Project, a collaboration between the Pacific Community (SPC) and the European Union (EU) is helping Pacific Island countries to improve the governance and management of their deep-sea minerals resources. Therefore, the topic of Science Day “Environmental management of deep seabed mining” was very relevant for the region and we heard from speakers with global, regional and national perspectives including:

  • Andy Birchenough (Chair) – Cefas, UK


  • Edward Kleverlaan - Office for London Convention/Protocol & Ocean Affairs

How LC/LP fits into deep-seabed mining and associated waste management

Regional Approach in the Pacific

  • Akuila Tawake - Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
  • Anthony Talouli - Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SREP)

Regional Approach to deep-seabed mining in the Pacific Islands and the Deep Sea Minerals Project

National Perspectives

  • Gabriel Poiya - Papua New Guinea

Deep-seabed mining in PnG national waters

  • Patecesio Manuceu - Tonga

Deep-seabed mining in Tongan national waters

  • J. Choi – Republic of Korea

Korean Deep-seabed mining programme

The presentations can be downloaded in one zip-file here: Fiji ppts DSM in

Science Day 2015- Marine geoengineering

The Science Day symposium is a regular event and an important agenda item for the joint meetings of Scientific Groups under London Convention and London Protocol. It provides a forum for scientists all over the world to share their points of views on the designated topic related to the remit of London Convention and London Protocol, including its general aim of marine environment protection. Contracting States and interested parties may use it as a resourceful tool to make informed decisions.

The topic of the 2015 Science Day was Marine Geoengineering. According to the 2013 amendment to the London Protocol, Marine geoengineering is defined as of a deliberate intervention in the marine environment to manipulate natural processes, including to counteract anthropogenic climate change and/or its impacts, and that has the potential to result in deleterious effects, especially where those effects may be widespread, long-lasting or severe.

The 2015 Science Day session on "Marine geoengineering" was held on Thursday, 23 April 2015, in IMO headquarters and presided by the First Vice-Chairman of the Scientific Groups, Ms. Linda Porebski (Canada). The symposium was offered the following presentations:

  1. "Brief summary of marine geoengineering techniques", by Dr. Chris Vivian, Cefas, United Kingdom
  2. "Ocean Carbon Capture and Storage (OCCS): The concept and its implications as a geoengineering option", by Dr. Richard Lampitt, National Oceanography Centre, United Kingdom
  3. "Ocean iron fertilization: overview and perspectives", by Dr. Christine Klaas, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven, Germany
  4. "Ocean alkalinity modification", by Dr. Phil Renforth, Cardiff University, United Kingdom
  5. "Enhanced mineral weathering as a marine geoengineering approach", by Mr. Francesc Montserrat, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, the Netherlands
  6. "Marine geoengineering on the Canadian horizon: a survey of the future", by Ms. Suzanne Agius, Environment Canada
  7. "Strategies for increasing ocean reflectance-marine albedo techniques", by Professor Julian Evans, University College London, United Kingdom
  8. "The physics, chemistry and biology of proposed marine geoengineering techniques", by Mr. Tim Kruger, Oxford University, United Kingdom
  9. "The price of carbon and the cost of macro and micronutrient fertilization of the ocean", by Professor Ian S. F. Jones, University of Sydney, Australia
  10. "Ocean fertilisation by buoyant flakes", by Mr. Bru Pearce, Envisionation, United Kingdom

The presentations were followed by two thorough panel discussions:

  •  Assessment, monitoring impacts and benefits – what are the biggest lessons learned thus far?; and
  •  What will be most important to success in the next decade or two on marine geoengineering?

The presentations can be downloaded in one zip-file