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European Union supports new laws on reduced maritime pollution

European Union supports new laws on reduced maritime pollution

The European Commission has recently recognized the progress made by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in some of the issues concerning maritime vehicle emissions.

The European Commission is all for controlling greenhouse gas emissions and other sources for pollution in every one of the transport sectors, with recent process made in the maritime industry. The European Union, along with Member States, have been among the main supporters of strategies to reduce pollution. Recently, on October 29th, the IMO announced the introduction of a global and mandatory system that will collect data on fuel consumption from ships. This is just one of the mentions in the European Strategy for low-emission mobility, which was adopted by the European Commission in July of 2016.

As a result, as of 2019, any ship over 5.000 gross tons and above will be required to collect data on its fuel consumption and energy efficiency. This raw data will then have to be transmitted to the able bodies in the ship’s flag state. After that, the data will be transferred to the IMO for a yearly report. According to officials, this is one of the first steps towards achieving a reduction in carbon emissions.

On a different note, the shipping sector is not mentioned in the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Paris Agreement, signed on April 22nd 2016 and effective as of November 4th 2016. This being said, the European Committee felt necessary to discuss the contributions of the maritime sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This decision to regulate the maritime industry comes after a recent discussion concerning the aviation field, according to the Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc: ‘Three weeks after the aviation deal in Montreal, the momentum for global action on climate remains strong. Today’s agreement is a milestone for a cleaner shipping sector. Data collection is an important first step, and it is very positive that we also started a discussion on a fair contribution of shipping to the climate efforts. The Commission will continue to work closely with the International Maritime Organisation and all its members for a competitive and sustainable shipping sector’.

Another important aspect of this anti-pollution decision is the limit on sulphur emissions. The recent IMO initiative goes hand in hand with an older limit on Sulphur emissions, already applicable in the European Union. Overall, the entire package to reduce pollution will have a beneficial aspect on human health, according to the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.