As the world counts down to the UN conference on climate change next month, here in the Pacific region a regional gathering is taking place to discuss air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.
Participants at the special workshop are discussing Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, known as MARPOL. This Annex deals specifically with regulations for the prevention of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from ships.
The workshop is being hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and is being supported using funds kindly donated to the IMO by the Government of Canada through Transport Canada.
At the opening of the workshop Dr David Haynes, SPREP’s Director of Waste Management and Pollution Control explained that international shipping is the most energy efficient mode of mass cargo transport.
“Seeing as the demand for sea transportation will continue to grow with increased world trade, it’s important that a global approach is taken to further improve its energy efficiency and limit emissions to minimise the impacts on human health and the environment.”
There are currently eight Pacific island countries that are Party to MARPOL Annex VI, however, after this workshop there is hope that more will ratify this special instrument to address the control of emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollution from international shipping.
“Some of the regulations you will hear about under this instrument are already leading to significant improvements in the energy efficiency of international shipping. This is resulting in less fuel oil being consumed by ships and so a reduction in emissions of harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases,” explained Dr Zabari Bazari on behalf of Dr Edmund Hughes of the International Maritime Organization.
“Regulation is often considered to have a detrimental impact on costs. As fuel oil makes up a significant proportion of the operational cost of ships these energy efficiency regulations could potentially significantly reduce the cost of maritime transport for Pacific states.”
Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community are represented at the workshop. They will participate in sessions that cover topics such as energy efficient ship design and technical energy efficiency measures, further measures to enhance the energy efficiency of ships, on shore power supply and green port initiatives and guidelines of MARPOL Annex VI.
The three day workshop is being hosted at the SPREP Campus in Apia, Samoa held from 19 – 21 November, 2014.
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