HELCOM to submit a proposal to IMO to designate the Baltic as a NOx emission control area
Helsinki, 8 November (HELCOM Information Service) – The Maritime Group of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM MARITIME) will hold its regular Meeting on 9-11 November in Norrköping, Sweden, to discuss further measures to improve the safety of navigation and reduce pollution from ships in the Baltic Sea.
The Meeting is expected to finalize the documentation needed for the joint proposal to IMO to designate the Baltic Sea as a NOx Emission Control Area (NECA) under Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention. “The Baltic Sea NECA would lead, in a long run, to the reduction of NOx emissions from ships in the Baltic by approximately 80% compared to the current level, estimated at 357 kilotons in 2009,” says Ms. Anne Christine Brusendorff, HELCOM’s Executive Secretary. “And this will contribute to curbing eutrophication which is the biggest environmental problem of the Baltic Sea.”
The work on the Baltic Sea NECA has been carried out since 2008, including extensive studies on the effect of shipping emissions on eutrophication and its harmful effects on human health, as well as studies on the economic impacts of this measure. The HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Moscow on 20 May 2010 decided that 2011 would be a preferable year for the submission of the proposal to IMO.
The HELCOM countries will also plan follow-up actions in relation to the recent decision by the IMO’s 61st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MERC 61), held on 27 September – 1 October 2010, to designate the Baltic Sea as a special area for sewage discharges from passenger ships under the amended Annex IV of the MARPOL Convention. Passenger ships operating in the Baltic Sea special area will be prohibited to discharge untreated sewage to the sea, and instead will be required to either treat sewage onboard to remove nutrient before it is discharged or deliver it to the port reception facility (PRF). The proposal for the special area status has been developed by the HELCOM Maritime Group and jointly submitted by the Baltic Sea countries to MEPC 60 and MEPC 61. The new regulations will come into effect only when the HELCOM states will upgrade reception facilities in their passenger ports to be capable of receiving all sewage from passenger ships visiting these ports. At the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Moscow, the coastal countries agreed to upgrade PRF preferably by 2013, and by 2015 at the latest, and selected priority ports to be dealt with in the first place.
Additionally, the Meeting will decide on interim management measures to reduce the risk of transfer of alien species via ballast water and sediments of ships on routes between the Mediterranean Sea and the North East Atlantic/Baltic Sea as well as will consider to join the OSPAR Commission simple risk based, interim approach to manage ballast water on routes between the ports of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.
Among other issues to be discussed by the Group are safety of navigation, hydrographic re-surveys of shipping routes, harmonized approach to granting exemptions from applying ballast water management within the Baltic Sea under the Ballast Water Management Convention, and further streamlining of HELCOM actions with flagship projects under the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.
The Meeting will be chaired by the Chair of HELCOM MARITIME, Ms. Lolan Eriksson.
Note to Editors:
The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as the Helsinki Commission, or HELCOM, is an intergovernmental organisation of all the nine Baltic Sea countries and the EU which works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution.
HELCOM is the governing body of the "Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area," known as the Helsinki Convention.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Monika Stankiewicz
Tel: +358 (0)40 8402471
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 639
Mr. Nikolay Vlasov
Tel: +358 (0)46 8509196
Fax: +358 (0)207 412 639