C/o Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
As the world marks 2023 World Maritime Day, Master Mariner/PhD Researcher, Captain Caleb Danladi Bako highlighted the main purposes of World Maritime Day. The importance of the sea transportation amongst others reveling thatore than 90% of Global Trade is carried by maritime Transportation:
WORLD Maritime day is celebrated annually on the last Thursday of every September. The purpose of the day is to provide an opportunity to focus more attention on the importance of the Maritime Industry and to underline the importance of Maritime Security, Maritime environment, safety, and shipping.
The day also provides an opportunity to emphasize on a particular aspect of the work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). A day first observed in 1978 to mark the day of adoption of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) convention in 1958.
Sea transportation is essential to the global economy as more than 90% of global trade is carried by maritime transportation. Shipping is essential to international trade because it is a cost-effective means of transporting vast quantities of merchandise throughout the globe. International shipping enables nations to gain access to essential raw materials for the development of their economy. Makes possible the production and distribution of reasonably priced items and products. Other essential supplies, such as chemicals, refined fuels, and manufactured goods, are also transported in significant quantities via marine transport.
The theme for the year is “MARPOL at 50 – Our commitment goes on” focuses attention on the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which addresses the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships due to either operational or unintentional reasons.
The theme reflects the organization’s long history of protecting the environment from the impact of shipping via a robust regulatory framework and emphasizes its ongoing commitment to this important work.
MARPOL, stand for the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, is a landmark international treaty aimed at preventing pollution of the marine environment from ships. In 2023, MARPOL reaches a significant milestone as it celebrates its 50th anniversary since its entry into force in 1973. This provides an opportune moment to reflect on its accomplishments, assess its effectiveness, and identify areas for further improvement.
MARPOL was developed in response to growing concerns over marine pollution caused by shipping activities. The devastating impacts of major oil spills, such as the Torrey Canyon incident in 1967, highlighted the urgent need for international cooperation to address marine pollution. MARPOL was the result of collective efforts by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and its member states to establish a comprehensive framework for preventing and minimizing pollution from ships.
MARPOL consists of six Annexes, each addressing specific sources of marine pollution. These Annexes cover a wide range of pollutants, including oil, chemicals, sewage, garbage, air emissions, and ballast water. The convention sets out detailed requirements, standards, and guidelines to regulate the discharge of these pollutants, as well as measures to prevent accidents and oil spills.
Over the past 50 years, MARPOL has made significant contributions to marine environmental protection. The convention has led to a substantial reduction in oil pollution incidents, thanks to the establishment of stringent regulations governing the construction, operation, and maintenance of oil tankers. MARPOL has also played a key role in the prevention of pollution from other sources, such as sewage, garbage, and harmful substances carried in packaged form.
While MARPOL has achieved notable successes, new challenges have emerged over time. One prominent issue is air pollution from ships, particularly emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). To address this, MARPOL Annex VI was amended to introduce stricter limits on emissions, leading to the introduction of low-sulfur fuel requirements and the development of alternative energy sources, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Effective implementation and enforcement of MARPOL are crucial for its success. Flag states, port states, and the shipping industry all have responsibilities in ensuring compliance with the convention’s requirements. Enhancing compliance monitoring, enforcement mechanisms, and penalties for violations remains an ongoing challenge to ensure a level playing field and maintain the convention’s effectiveness.
As MARPOL enters its 50th year, it is essential to reflect on emerging issues and areas for improvement. Continued efforts are needed to address air emissions, especially greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as part of global climate change mitigation efforts. Further progress in ballast water management and the reduction of single-use plastics and other marine debris should also be pursued.
MARPOL’s effectiveness relies on advancements in technology and innovation to develop more efficient and environmentally friendly shipping practices. Encouraging research and development in alternative fuels, energy-efficient technologies, and waste management systems can contribute to the convention’s goals.
In conclusion, as MARPOL celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is an opportune time to recognize its achievements in preventing and minimizing pollution from ships. The convention has significantly contributed to safeguarding the marine environment, but ongoing efforts are needed to address evolving challenges, enhance compliance, and promote technological advancements. By building upon its successes and adapting to emerging issues, MARPOL can continue to play a crucial role in protecting our oceans for future generations.
Theme is :MARPOL at 50 — Our commitment goes MARPOL reaches a significant milestone as it celebrates its 50th anniversary since its entry into force in 1973. This provides an opportune moment to reflect on its accomplishments, assess its effectiveness, and identify areas for further improvement.
By Capt. Caleb Danladi Bako
Master Mariner/PhD Researcher