23 September 2023
The EU, together with countries from around the Mediterranean Sea, have agreed to support the designation of a sulfur emissions control area (SECA) in the Mediterranean Sea region.
Ships sailing in the Mediterranean will have to use fuels containing low sulfur, as explained. According to expectations, the SOx emission reduction will bring benefits to water and air quality as well as human health.
The agreement settled last week in Antalya, Turkey. The contracting parties of the UN’s Barcelona Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean held the 22nd meeting of the “Conference of the parties” (COP). Hence, they signed a declaration endorsing a new strategy for 2022 to 2027. Aiming to achieve a healthy, clean, sustainable and climate-resilient Mediterranean Sea.
The Mediterranean Sea has historically been at the heart of societal development for the region as well as a major motorway of the sea. Climate change, overexploitation and pollution have led to many pressures on this fragile ecosystem… I am particularly proud that all contracting parties have agreed to designate the Mediterranean as a sulphur emission control area to protect the health of millions of Mediterranean citizens and their marine environment from ship’s pollution.“Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
Human Activities & Measures
The Mediterranean Sea is subject to many pressures from human activities. Particularly when considering the large population loving on its shores and the human activities that take place at sea.
- Contamination from pollutants
- Marine litter
- Unsustainable extraction of fish
- Underwater noise
- Non-indigenous species
- Physical disturbance of the seabed
The ministerial meeting shut down weeklong discussions. Specifically, for the designation of SECA and the Medium Term Strategy 2022-27, they agreed on a total of 18 decisions. These include 2 regional plans to tackle marine litter and urban wastewaters, as well as the budget for the next biennium.
These important decisions will also help EU Member States to protect their marine waters. In addition, achieving environmental commitments under the European Green Deal.