Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Well under way
In a spate of activity since its formal launch in March, the initial phase of the Glofouling Partnerships project is now well underway with a series of technical workshops in the Pacific. This was reported by the IMO Media service on 2 July.
(See illustrations kindly provided by IMO ©).
Delivered to participants the key message was that once introduced, marine invasive species can be hard to eradicate – and invasive species represent a potential major threat to the Pacific Ocean’s biodiversity and the ecological integrity of Small Island Developing States. The GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships project aims to protect marine biodiversity by addressing bioinvasions by organisms which can build up on ships’ hulls and other marine structures.
Participants from South Pacific countries took part in a five-day regional workshop from 3 to 7 June in Suva, Fiji. This provided an opportunity to outline the main instruments which aim to prevent the spread of invasive species and address fouling on ships:
As we well know implementation of these conventions and guidelines can help prevent the transfer of invasive aquatic species into the Pacific region.
During the workshop, site visits to a dockyard in Suva provided an opportunity for participants to see at first hand hull cleaning/painting, and to see where fouling can occur in niche areas such as sea chests, bow thrusters or propeller shafts.
This regional workshop was organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), in collaboration with the Project Coordination Unit of the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships. The regional workshop was part funded by IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation programme (ITCP).
Attended was recorded by representatives from Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, the Federate States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Consultants and support were also provided from Maritime New Zealand, the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
Two of the 12 Lead Partnering Countries (LPCs) of the GloFouling Partnerships hosted national workshops to review the programme of work and begin establishing national task forces. These took place in Fiji on 10 June and Tonga on 12 / 13 June. Such national meetings were attended by representatives from a wide range of government institutions and the private sector, such as the ministries of environment, fisheries, transport and infrastructure, port authority, biosecurity, port state control officers, dry docks, shipping agents and operators.
Role of national task forces
Strong support was provided by the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. One of the exercises of the participants was to review the institutions and stakeholders that should be contacted to take part in their National Task Force, to be set up in the coming months. The role of the national task forces will be to oversee the development of a strategy and action plan to implement IMO’s Biofouling Guidelines and best practices for other maritime industries.
The GloFouling Partnerships will organize similar national workshops in the remaining Lead Partnering Countries in the coming months. These Partnerships will work incollaboration between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and IMO.
Twelve lead partnering countries: Brazil, Ecuador, Fiji, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Tonga); four regional organizations with the IOC-UNESCO, the World Ocean Council and numerous strategic partners have signed up to the project.
On 19 February the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) published its Position Paper on the European Green Deal objectives in ports.
The publication of this position paper fits into the European Shipping Week (ESW), taking place in Brussels from 17 February. In the framework of the ESW, ESPO and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) organised on 19 February a workshop on Decarbonising the shipping industry: What’s already happening and how can we help accelerate it?
The Executive Summary of the ESPO Position Paper reads as follows:
Following reports received regarding the impacts on the shipping industry of the sudden and rapid outbreak of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), IMO issued a Circular Letter* on 19 February advising Member States and others on implementation and enforcement of relevant IMO Instruments.
The letter urges Flag State authorities, port State authorities and control regimes, companies and ship masters to cooperate, in the current context of the outbreak, to ensure that, where appropriate, passengers can be embarked and disembarked, cargo operations can occur, ships can enter and depart ship yards for repair and survey, stores and supplies can be loaded, certificates can be issued and crews can be exchanged.
The principles of avoiding unnecessary restrictions or delay on port entry to ships, persons and property on board are contained in articles I and V and section 6 of the annex to IMO’s Facilitation Convention.
IMO will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide additional information as and when appropriate.