National maritime traffic authorities from the Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union will meet at the annual of the HELCOM working group on maritime issues starting today.Emissions from ships is one workimng area of HELCOM Maritime group. Photo: Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services/Jan EkebomOne of the more recent issues on the agenda is to consider the drafting of a comprehensive HELCOM assessment of maritime activities in the Baltic Sea area by 2016, as producing such an assessment was agreed by the coastal countries and EU during the 2013 HELCOM Ministerial .Based on national submissions, HELCOM updates annually a number of datasets on maritime activities in the Baltic Sea area covering issues such as spills observed via aerial surveillance, shipping intensity () and accidents, response operations, fisheries activities and dredging. The HELCOM Maritime Assessment, anticipated to be approved for release in December 2016, will synthesize this kind of information and utilize other sources to get a comprehensive overview of maritime activities as well their environmental effects. The publication will particularly focus on developments during the last ten years, from 2005 until 2015.Besides the regular data collection, the Maritime Assessment will also use results of other ongoing assessment activities such as the initiative to draft an HELCOM assessment on hazardous objects dumped or lost in the Baltic Sea by 2016. Moreover, the Maritime Assessment will support other activities within the HELCOM framework and eventually be an opportunity to consider the long term effects of shipping regulations in the region.The Meeting will also cover several other issues of more operational nature such as regional implementation of the Ballast Water Convention, implementation of the Baltic Sulphide Oxide Emission Control Area (SECA), Baltic Sea as a MARPOL Annex IV Sewage Special Area, as well as revised recommendations for harmonized fines.The Meeting will be hosted by the Lithuanian Maritime Authority in Klaipeda, Lithuania, and chaired by Ms. Anna Petersson, Sweden, Chair of HELCOM Maritime. . All documents will be public after the meeting. * * * Note for editorsThe , originally established in 1975, identifies and promotes actions to limit sea-based pollution and ways for safer navigation. It also works to ensure enforcement and harmonized implementation of IMOs international shipping regulations in accordance to the 1992 Helsinki Convention. Sub-groups include the HELCOM-OSPAR Task on Ballast Water Management (regional dimensions of implementing the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention), Expert on Safety of Navigation, Expert Working for Mutual Exchange and Deliveries of Automatic Identification System (AIS) Data, and HELCOM Cooperation on Port Reception Facilities (PRF).The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. * * * For more information, please contact:Hermanni Backer Professional Secretary for Maritime, Response and Fish groups HELCOM Tel: +358 46 8509199 Skype: helcom02 E-mail: hermanni.backer(at)helcom.fi Johanna Laurila Information Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988 Skype: helcom70 E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi
National maritime traffic authorities from the Baltic Sea coastal countries and EU will meet at the annual meeting of the HELCOM Maritime group starting today.