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Ships from "white states" place the most strain on the marine environment

28 May 2020

It is not ships from blacklisted flag states but those from whitelisted that put the most pressure on the marine environment in the Baltic Sea. Newer vessels also account for a greater number of deficencies than older ones. The results of a new pre-study on Port State Controls surprise the researchers.

“We have compared data from ships latest inspection to get a snapshot of how they impact the environment. And although newer vessels have a lower number of deficencies per vessel, they overall account for a larger number as they are significantly more. There are very many in the age class 6 - 15 years, which results in them having the greatest impact on the marine environment in the Baltic Sea, Ida-Maja Hassellöv, a researcher at Chalmers says.

Similarly, because ships from white listed flag states are much more common, the total number of deficiencies of ships registered in white listed flag states, and hence, the total pressure on the marine environment, is much higher than the total number of deficiencies of, and total pressures from, ships from black and grey listed flag states.

“There is a potential for development here. We have received fantastic support from the Swedish Transport Agency, the Paris MoU and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management in this work. They have patiently answered our questions, and in a possible upcoming research project you would like to have them and shipping companies as partners.”

The report also conclude that although the Paris MoU scheme for Port State Controls is an important measure to prevent pollution from ships, there is no harmonization between the work of Paris MoU and the marine environmental management in the EU.

”Much of the Paris MoU is about preventing oil spills, which of course is good, but shipping also affects other aspects, such as biodiversity, the integrity of the seabed and underwater noise. Here are opportunities to develop and adapt current port state control systems that also include these aspects. A further development of the system could be that the monitoring of vessels' operations also are done during the period between inspections”, Ida-Maja Hassellöv says.

The preliminary study "Use of port State control inspection data from the Paris MoU to assess pressure from shipping in the marine environment: A study of ships operating in the Baltic Sea region" was made by Lighthouse within the Swedish Transport Administration's Sustainable Shipping program. It was authored by Ida-Maja Hassellöv (Chalmers), Kjell Larsson (Linnaeus University) , Nefeli Simopoulou (Chalmers) and Eva-Lotta Sundblad (Swedish Institute for Marine Environment).

Read the study: Use of port State control inspection data from the Paris MoU to assess pressure from shipping on the marine environment

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