The meeting is reporting on its current assessment of the issue of space debris to the annual meeting of the Parties.

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It will also consider the disposal of fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) vessels, as several abandoned or no-longer usable FRP vessels - including fishing vessels and leisure craft - are dumped at sea each year, possibly because of a lack of land-based disposal facilities.

Other items on the agenda include the provision of input to the IMO Action Plan to Address Marine Plastic Litter from Ships, and the review of the specific guidelines for assessment for dumping of platforms or other man-made structures at sea.

IMO has committed to address the problem that plastics are posing to the marine environment, by adopting an action plan to enhance current regulations and establish new supporting measures to limit marine plastic litter from ships.

On 26 October, recognizing that more needs to be done to address the environmental and health problems from marine plastic litter, MEPC 73 agreed actions to be completed by 2025. The action plan supports IMO’s commitment to meet the targets set in the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) on the oceans.

The Action Plan provides a mechanism to identify specific results, and actions to achieve them. The plan is based on existing policy and regulatory frameworks, and identifies opportunities to enhance these frameworks and introduce new supporting measures to address the issue of marine plastic litter from ships.