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  • 2018 September 28 12:55

    HELCOM Maritime Working Group meets in Hamburg to approve current work and future agenda on maritime matters

    Baltic Sea maritime matters took centre stage at the 18th Meeting of the HELCOM Maritime Working Group (MARITIME 18-2018) that was held in Hamburg, Germany from 25 to 27 September 2018. The Meeting approved key reports and a revised recommendation, and set the agenda for future doings, notably preparing for the update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), the region's strategic tool for a healthy Baltic Sea.

    "MARITIME 18-2018 was an important meeting on the HELCOM calendar, continuing the work on measures to prevent pollution from ships, but also paving the way for Baltic Sea maritime issues for the next years to come. It was an essential step towards the Baltic Sea Action Plan update process that will feature prominently on our future agenda," said Markus Helavuori, the HELCOM Professional Secretary in charge of maritime affairs.

    Based on the outcomes of the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Brussels and HELCOM Heads of Delegations Meeting in Helsinki (HOD 54-2018) held earlier this year, the BSAP is set to be renewed after its current end date of 2021. 

    In Hamburg, the BSAP goal on maritime activities – "Maritime activities carried out in an environmentally friendly way" – was given special attention, not only on its future shape but also with proposals for fulfilling the current and agreed upon actions that are yet to be accomplished by 2021.

    The Meeting also approved the update to the HELCOM recommendation 33/1 on the HELCOM Automatic Identification System (AIS), which specifies the procedures of sharing AIS data and also addresses GDPR regulations.

    In a bid to strengthen private and public sector collaboration for eco-friendly maritime activities, the participants endorsed the GREEN TEAM Reporting mechanism and method. The reporting mechanism addresses the main barriers, obstacles and challenges hindering the development and investments in green technology and alternative fuels in the Baltic Sea. 

    Furthermore, the Meeting approved the Annual HELCOM report on shipping accidents in the Baltic Sea area in 2014-2017. According to the document, more than 700 ship accidents were recorded in the Baltic Sea area between 2014 and 2017, with the majority occurring in ports. Annual reports on shipping accidents in the Baltic Sea area have been compiled by HELCOM since the year 2000.

    Taking into account the update of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, the participants also revised the HELCOM Maritime Work Plan for 2018-2020. The work plan mainly focuses on measures and actions related to maritime safety, emissions and discharges from shipping, and statistics on activities of ships in the Baltic Sea.

    During the meeting that was held in the premises of the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH), matters related to air emissions from ships, port reception facilities, marine litter, ballast water, safety of navigation were also discussed among others.

    The MARITIME 18-2018 Meeting was officially opened by Ms Monika Breuch-Moritz, President of the BSH, who highlighted in her welcome speech that the HELCOM work "is an important contribution to the global vision of green shipping and the sustainable development of marine and coastal areas."

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