A proposal to designate the Mediterranean Sea as an emission control area (ECA) for sulphur oxides was submitted to the IMO by all Mediterranean countries and the EU.
he proposal will be covered at MEPC 78 in June this year. German NGO NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union), together with the MedECA Network of NGOs welcomed the submission and congratulated all parties and organisations “for their collaborative and remarkable efforts following extensive consultations to make this proposal a reality.”
We wholeheartedly support the decision of the Mediterranean littoral states to opt for air quality improvements to save lives and protect the environment. We urge member states to pass it on to MEPC79 in December 2022 for approval to come into force in 2025
said Sönke Diesener, shipping expert at NABU
Environmental groups have long called for the more widespread designation of ECAs to protect both human health and the environment from the significant threats posed by air pollution from shipping. “This comprehensive proposal confirms the many evidence-based arguments for doing so.”
Experience with ECAs implemented in Europe, North America and the Caribbean have demonstrated positive impacts with significant local air quality improvements, while studies found no economic disturbances, no modal shift and no major issues concerning the supply of compliant fuel.
“Moreover, the regulation worked as a catalyst to bolster innovation towards greening the maritime industry,” Diesener added.
We additionally welcome the decision of the Barcelona Convention parties to further investigate nitrogen oxide emissions from shipping in the Mediterranean region. It is noted that a combined ECA for SOx and NOx would bring further health benefits in the Mediterranean as shown in a paper submitted by France for MEPC74
stated Anna Gerometta, President at Italian NGO Cittadini per l’Aria.
Last year, at the meeting of the parties to the Barcelona Agreement in Antalya this week, the Mediterranean countries agreed to designate an emission control area for sulfur emissions (Mediterranean Emission Control Area – MedECA).
According to the routines of decision-making at the International Maritime Organization, the MedECA could come into force in January 2025.
A passage on the reduction of harmful nitrogen emissions from ships will not be included in the proposal for the IMO for the time being. However, the coastal states have agreed to work on introducing an Emission Control Area for this over the next two years.