IMO Celebrates World Maritime Day and 50 Years of MARPOL

by | 29th September 2023 | Industry News, The Naval Architect - News

Home News IMO Celebrates World Maritime Day and 50 Years of MARPOL

Blue Thursday: IMO took a central role once again in the marking of World Maritime Day. Source: IMO/Flickr

Multiple organisations came together in London yesterday to celebrate a major milestone in the maritime world.

The event, jointly organised by the IMO, UNEP and the Norwegian Innovation Forum, was held to mark not only World Maritime Day but also 50 years of the MARPOL regulations.

The IMO and the Norwegian Innovation Forum also announced the ratification of the new Green Voyage 2050 strategy, which will aims to spur global efforts to develop new green technology solutions. A key theme of the new Green Voyage 2050 plan is to explore ways to collaborate with existing programmes to encourage zero and low-emission solutions for shipping in developing countries.

“Shipping must embrace decarbonization, digitalization and innovative technology, including automation – while ensuring the human element is kept front and centre of the technological and green transition to ensure a sustainable planet for future generations,” outgoing IMO secretary general Kitack Lim said yesterday in a statement before the wide-ranging session at the organisation’s London headquarters. “MARPOL has made a difference to shipping – and to the health of our ocean – and will continue to do so, as we look ahead to the next 50 years,” he added.

From a regulatory perspective the event also discussed upcoming to changes to several MARPOL annexes which will effect the maritime sector. Amongst these were requirements for mandatory garbage record books for smaller ships, specifically discharges to a reception facility ashore or to other ships and garbage incineration. The new regulations also related to permitted discharges of garbage into the sea, and accidental or other exceptional discharged or loss of garbage into the sea. The move supports implementation of IMO’s Strategy and Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships.

Further presentations from Ms. Michelle Sanders, Alternate Representative of Canada to IMO and Lt. Cmdr. Enrique Vargas Guerra, Directemar of Chile also looked at the ongoing problem of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Both from fishing and urban waste, respectively. Later on during the day broad discussions of alternative fuel standards, covered by MARPOL Annex VI, also took place. The conversation, initially introduced by Dr. Harry Conway, Chair of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), Liberia, brought together representatives from the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, as well as IPIECA and UNCTAD.

Dr Jan Hoffman of UNCTAD emphasised that while steps are being taken to reduce emissions from shipping, an overall increase in the number of traded goods globally means that there concurrently more journeys will be made. Of note was also a presentation from Ms. Fernanda Sossai, from Porto do Açu Operações, Brazil, on the expansion of bunkering infrastructure in her country. Brazil, a fast growing economy in the global south is increasingly investing in renewables as part of its domestic fuel production with the aim to provide renewables for the shipping sector in port.

Closing the day was RINA’s Technical Director Dmitriy Ponkratov who presented findings from JoRes Joint Research Project. The project, a global initiative with over 50 participating organisations, aims to optimise vessel designs to create more effective models. The project, which has started in 2019 aims to complete its work in 2023. Their mission is to collect and develop, through collaboration, a full set of ship performance data, to better understand the potential for ship energy efficiency.

Closing the day was a speech by incoming IMO Secretary General Mr. Arsenio Dominguez, bookending the day’s proceedings with an emphasis on continuing the IMO’s work on MARPOL into the future.

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