Shipping is the most international of all means of transport – and the legislation, regulations and requirements for environment friendly maritime shipping are correspondingly global. The current and future legal framework conditions are the subject of the first ever maritime environmentsummit, “gmec – global maritime environmental congress”, to be held at Congress Center Hamburg (CCH) on 7 and 8 September 2010. Maritime legislation involves a large number of international organisations and bodies, and the regulations look confusing at first sight. The International

Maritime Organization IMO has to find a common denominator for the interests of as many as 169 member states. Its central set of regulations is the MARPOL Convention (73/78, International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships), with its six Annexes setting out the rules and procedures to deal with the main sources of pollution from shipping.

There is also a great deal of regulative activity by the individual member states of the EU and by numerous regional bodies, to set a binding basis for environmental protection in maritime transport. These initiatives in turn create important foundations for the work of IMO. For example, Germany played a major part in the revision of MARPOL Annex VI (Air Pollution), which provides for a substantial reduction of the sulphur content in marine diesel fuel from the current average level of 2.7% to 0.5% by 2020. There are also designated SOx emission control areas, where the maximum permitted sulphur content from 2015 onwards is 0.1% – an important initiative for stepwise reduction of air pollution at sea, by use of low-emission distillates.

A forum for exchange of ideas, essential for international environmental requirements

Shipping is already the most sustainable means of transport there is. No other means of transport can carry as many goods with such low input of energy. As much as 97% of global trade is conducted by sea – producing only 3% of global emissions. And despite this good performance, the maritime sector is still doing all it can to reduce its environmental footprint still further.

“The maritime industry is well aware of its responsibility. It can make a significant contribution to environmental protection. Ship's engines already have the highest levels of efficiency by comparison across industries. And there are new international environmental requirements which make it essential to exchange ideas. That is why I believe the environmental congress is an excellent idea, and this is exactly the right time to implement it,” says Dr. Hermann J. Klein, Chairman Executive Board Germanischer Lloyd and Vice Chairman IACS – International Association of Classification Societies Ltd.

Dr. Klein is Chairman of panel 2 at gmec, on “Legislation & the Regulatory Environment”, which addresses exclusively the maritime environmental legislation, and the questions “What regulations are currently in force? What developments in legislation are to be expected in the coming years? And what is the role of IMO and MARPOL in this?”

The gmec panel includes Dr. Simon Walmsley, Marine Manager International Shipping & Marine Governance of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). He feels there are already some good things in progress, but also room for further improvement – “We already have a whole series of international rules and regulations, such as MARPOL and SOLAS – an area where other industries still have a long way to go. That is a great advantage. But unfortunately not all the shipowners are keeping to them, and in particular not all the flag states are keeping to them. We all have to work together to change that.” WWF is involved in a range of different areas in protection of the maritime environment. That includes advice to shipping lines on environmental issues. “Of course we work in close cooperation with Intertanko and the International Chamber of Shipping and, by the way, we have also been working with the IMO for the past 15 years. We at WWF want to get all the

stakeholders together, and to arrive at sensible, environment friendly solutions, with monetary incentives for implementation. For example insurance companies that give more favourable rates to reward ships which are environment friendly and safe.”

Monitoring procedures as a market opportunity for the maritime industry

An insight into the monitoring opportunities to ensure compliance with environmental regulations will be given at gmec 2010 by Monika Breuch-Moritz, President of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (BSH) since mid-2009. She believes there have already been a great many changes and further developments since the first maritime environmental regulations in the 70s, as a result of a number of major environmental disasters. “IMO was able to make substantial progress in the past few years.” But, she adds, it is not enough to draw up regulations and agreements; it is also essential to check them, and to impose sanctions in the event of violation. She attaches great importance to using the right monitoring procedures. For example, computer simulations, aerial monitoring and satellite monitoring are used to track illegal oil discharges to their source and identify the polluter. Such monitoring programmes have led to significant reduction in oil pollution from illegal discharge from merchant vessels in the last 20 years. But further action is still needed, and new methods are being developed to monitor compliance with air pollution regulations. “New monitoring methods and instruments can also provide good market opportunities for the marine equipment industry,” she notes.

Other speakers in gmec panel 2 “Legislation & the Regulatory Environment” are Andreas I. Chrysostomou, Chairman of the MEPC Marine Environment Protection Committee at IMO, who will provide first-hand information on current and future MARPOL limits, and Peter Swift, Managing Director von Intertanko, who will talk about developments in tanker transport and give specific details of some best-practice examples.

gmec 2010 – the first global maritime environmental congress in Hamburg

The global maritime environmental congress (gmec) is the first inter-industry, international conference on “maritime environmental protection” on top executive level. The first global maritime environmental congress will be held in Hamburg on 7 and 8 September 2010, on the occasion of SMM, the world’s leading shipbuilding trade fair (7 to 10 September). gmec provides a platform for representatives of IMO (International Maritime Organization), the European Commission, governments, port industries, shipping and the shipbuilding industry to analyse the status quo of maritime environmental protection and discuss targets, which may determine the course for the environmental future of the global maritime industry. The congress, like the trade fair SMM itself, will be held under the patronage of Chancellor Angela Merkel, and will in future take place every two years in Hamburg. Further information on the congress and on registration and participation is given at the website

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