Mediterranean Action on Pollution from Ships

INTERTANKO attended the 6th meeting of the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) in Malta last week to oversee the progress being made by the UN Agency regarding prevention of pollution from ships in the Mediterranean Sea. REMPEC have in the past concentrated on response aspects, as required under the Barcelona Convention, however owing to a new Protocol to the Convention, the centre has now been charged with prevention of pollution from shipping.

Attended by transport and environmental representatives from all the Mediterranean States, the focal point meeting was also attended by a host of environmental organisations as well as the IMO and the European Union. The main focus of the meeting was to assess the REMPEC Strategy on the prevention of pollution from sea based activities including both the prevention of accidents and illegal discharges from ships. The prevention was to be achieved by aiding in the implementation of several key International Conventions and working on other issues including places of refuge, assistance of tugs, increased harmony of port state control inspections with Paris MOU, improved port reception facilities in the region and most importantly the ratification of the IMO’s Conventions. INTERTANKO expressed its support for the initiative and stated that the Mediterranean states must focus initially on full ratification of all the IMO Convention’s, including the recently completed Bunker Convention and OPRC/HNS Protocol.

The European Union was represented by Jacques de Dieu from the European Commission who stated that the European Mediterranean states must look to the European initiatives in the wake of the Prestige incident before taking unilateral action and then all the States in the Mediterranean region to work together at IMO to ensure a full international approach to this matter. The IMO representative, Jean-Claude Sainlos also stated that the Mediterranean states must work towards the full implementation of the IMO Conventions as a first step and then work together and bring o the attention of the Imo any further specific issues which need addressing in the region.

REMEPC will now review the Strategy based on these and several more comments received, and will present a final draft Strategy at the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) Co-ordinating Unit of the IMO at its meeting in November 2003. INTERTANKO have expressed an interest in aiding with the work on reception facilities and places of refuge.

Further information on REMPEC and its work can be gained from www.rempec.org

Contact:  Tim Wilkins tim.wilkins@intertanko.com