Author Archives: Annabelle Cauchi

The maritime sector’s potential towards the growth, development of the economy

When the Malta Maritime Forum (MMF) was set up in 2015, two of its stated objectives were:

a) To promote the interests of the Maltese maritime sector; and

b) To promote research, education and training within the Maltese maritime sector.

The publication of this unique study is an attestation of these objectives. When MMF commissioned E Cubed Consultants to undertake this study, it aimed at raising the profile of this industry through professional research and economic analysis so that the outcome and the conclusions are based on empirical facts and shorn of any bias. 

The study is unique because it is the first of its kind in Maltese economic literature albeit dealing with an activity which has shaped Malta’s very own existential dimension. The islands of Malta and Gozo would have no identity without the relativity to the sea through which the islands assume their international dimension and enable the undertaking of trading in order to survive. These facts are part of the Maltese DNA as is our mother language but like all things natural, they are generally taken for granted and not  given the appreciation they deserve. This is the glass ceiling the forum wanted to challenge when embarking on this study so that both the policymaker and the public can appreciate the contribution that this activity – rather, a range of activities – makes to the national economy.

The study analyses the data for a seven-year period,  2012 to 2018, and concludes that the maritime sector generated around €853 million in value added in 2018, which translates into approximately 11,864 jobs. Adding the indirect effects, the value added increases to €1,566 million; job creation goes up to over 14,500 full-time equivalent jobs.

Another conclusion deriving from this study is that by applying different types of multipliers to the output data, the maritime industry is found to generate an economic contribution of €2,163 million and the equivalent of 20,515 jobs. The maritime industry accounts for eight per cent of the total economic value added and six per cent of the total economic gainfully occupied.  The contribution to the economy’s total output has been generally on an upward trend, rising from 5.3 per cent to 7.4 per cent during the seven-year period.  These conclusions are supported by statistical tables and comparative graphs which those who wish to study in more depth will find of interest. 

The study also deals with the issue of productivity and observes that whereas the average value added per employee within the Maltese economy stands at €47,000, the same value added or productivity within the maritime sector stands at €72,000, i.e. 53 per cent higher than the national average.  Further comments to these hard facts become superfluous.

The average growth of the value added in the economy is 10 per cent, compared to 12 per cent when it comes to the growth registered in the maritime sector. 

The fourth chapter of the study deals specifically with the economic value of the maritime sector in Malta and the results deriving from the analysis undertaken warrants the full attention of the policymaker as well as of the investor. The analysis in this chapter leads to the conclusion that the average annual increase in value added generated by the maritime activities is 13 per cent, whereas the average increase in the generation of employment is six per cent.

As can be attested by the achievements in the maritime sector, which is the subject of chapter five of the study, over the years, Malta has scored a number of highs in the international maritime industry. Unfortunately, these achievements are difficult to quantify in terms of investment and return because there is no particular NACE category which encompasses the entire maritime investment activities in Malta. Hopefully, this matter will be addressed in the future.

A SWOT analysis is also undertaken in chapter six which deals with the potential of the maritime sector. This analysis is directed towards the identification of the sector’s potentials, challenges and constraints and for this reason it considers six dimensions, namely:

i) human capital;

ii) market demand;

iii) infrastructure;

iv) regulatory;

v) logistics considerations;

vi) general business environment.

Some of the conclusions resulting from this analysis are:

The growth projections for the maritime sector are very positive and it is expected that this sector will soon make up in excess of 14 per cent of Malta’s total GDP.Over the years, Malta has scored a number of highs in the international maritime industry

• A significant skills gap exists in this sector due to a shortage of qualified and skilled employees.

• There is a lack of infrastructural capacity.

• There is a general lack of awareness and appreciation of the maritime sector from the public.

• The industry suffers from an information gap.

The study highlights that there is also a gap in the maritime legal structures, mainly due to the absence of a maritime court as well as to the lack of sufficient recognition of the Malta Arbitration Centre.

There is no doubt that such conclusions warrant the full and undivided attention of the policymaker. The Malta Maritime Forum has long campaigned for the reintroduction of the Maritime Malta business model which was a success story in itself but which the political powers decided to abolish for political expediency. The resulting gaps that are manifest in today’s maritime sector are an attestation of this failed policy which unfortunately was introduced by one administration and retained by the current one.

The study does not stop at dry statistical analysis but it goes the extra mile to put forward recommendations by way of a proposal for a national framework for the maritime sector in Malta.  It advocates that: “The development of a National Maritime Framework would sustainably enhance and develop the maritime industry while protecting the sea resource.”

The MMF  looks forward to engage in an exchange of views both with its members as well as with the government and public entities for a sustainable strategy for the development of the maritime sector. Environmental considerations are paramount to ensure sustainability as well as shedding of misconceptions about maritime activities and the environment. The  concept of the ‘blue economy’ is based on the harmonious balance between maritime activity and marine ecology.

This study is unique not only because of the highly-professional economic analysis undertaken by E Cubed Consultants, but also because it serves as a point of reference for the policymaker, the players within the industry and the academic researcher who wishes to delve deeper in this economic activity.

A final word of praise is reserved to Mediacoop, who were entrusted with the design and layout of the publication, and to Gutenberg Press for the high-quality printing. 

Anyone wishing to have an electronic copy of the study can send an e-mail to or

Godwin Xerri, CEO of Combined Maritime Services and also a board member of the Malta Maritime Forum.

Source: The Times of Malta


The Value of the Local Maritime Industry – a Critique

In a study commissioned by the Malta Maritime Forum and which is to be published in the coming weeks, the conclusions derived from the analysis and economic assessment are that the Maltese maritime sector is a mature and robust industry that contributes substantially to the Maltese economy.

Quoting from the study which was conducted by Dr Gordon Cordina and his team at E-Cubed Consultants: “The maritime sector was found to have directly generated around Euro 853 million in value added in 2018. This translates to approximately 11,864 jobs in full time equivalent. Including the indirect effects, the value added generated is estimated at Euro 1,566 million, sustaining around 14,579 jobs.

The overall economic contribution, including also the induced multiplier effect across the economy, is estimated at Euro 2,163 million, generating 20,515 jobs. The 2018 direct economic contribution of the maritime sector is equivalent to eight per cent of the total economic value added and six per cent of the total economic gainfully occupied in full-time employment.”

The analysis undertaken in the course of this study highlights another interesting factor of the maritime industry. This is the linkage that there is between the maritime and a wide range of other economic activities which explains the relevance of the maritime service to the rest of the national economy. There is no doubt that the maritime industry is a backbone to most of the economic activity which is manifested through the increase in the economic contribution and employment generation once the multiplier effect is introduced into the equation.

It is interesting to note that the sector which exhibits relatively higher linkages with the maritime sector is the financial and insurance sector which covers also the legal profession. The activity generated by the maritime industry in the legal, financial and insurance sectors is underestimated and barely realised.

The international maritime activity by its very nature is capital-intensive and highly regulated – hence the need for legal guidance and direction. Malta has contributed and continues to do so through illustrious legal personalities who do credit not only to Malta but to the international maritime industry. Furthermore, Malta’s fiscal, legal and corporate support structures are an attraction to foreign investment within the maritime industry where the total effort can be stalled through bureaucracy. Malta does have some way to go in the dismantling of bureaucracy which is still, unfortunately, stifling development and initiative.

One can cite a list of examples which are stifling expansion in the maritime sector, but suffice to highlight two topical examples that can be drawn from the local scene, namely the procurement of services for cargo consolidation and the port facilities. From time to time, we hear about the promotion of Malta as a logistics hub or the setting up of a consolidation hub. These activities are so fraught with bureaucracy that the time and money invested in the promotion of same, go to waste.

The last international tender issued for expressions of interest to establish a consolidation hub in Malta drew a nil response as far as we are aware.

This activity entails the manipulation of cargoes which are imported into Malta and re-exported to other countries. There are various methodologies of undertaking such operations by using sea-air or sea-truck combinations.

In a preliminary study undertaken by our company on multi-country consolidation, it resulted that what Dubai can do for €850 for a container, Rotterdam can do for €1,000 and Malta comes at over €1,500. This is not bad publicity for maritime Malta but a wake-up call to address reality and put things right. Unfortunately, it all starts with political decisions because unless there is direction from the top, the rest cannot follow. The Maritime Forum can bring to the table sufficient expertise if it were to be consulted on the matter.

A similar situation is to be found in the development of facilities in the Grand Harbour. The port situation in Malta is a direct derivative of our limited size. This limitation is further compounded by bureaucracy, vested interests to defend the status quo and lack of determination to get things done.

Some feathers may be ruffled but it all depends how one wishes to address a situation. It is not all gloom and doom because there are landmarks in our ports which have been achieved, but whatever regeneration and port development plan is in the latest edition, this needs to be translated into strict time schedules and delivery periods, so that maritime Malta can move on, market and attract more investment that generates wealth and employment.

The high value of the maritime industry to the national economy is empirically proven and factual notwithstanding the negative PR that unfortunately stigmatises this industry. Recent events that played out over the last COVID-19-ridden months proved what we all fear, namely that as an industry, and even more as a maritime forum, we are not given the due respect from the authorities.

The underlying strain caused by lack of consultation created a disruption to the level of trust that has been built over the years between the private and public sectors. 

This is a pity because it is only through dialogue and consultation that we can hand over this industry to the younger generation to continue creating wealth through our prime national resource – the sea that surrounds our islands.

Godwin Xerri, managing director, Focal Maritime

Source: Times of Malta

Original Article:

Supporting Measures to the Maltese Shipping Industry during the Covid-19 Pandemic


Merchant Shipping Notice 160

Notice to Shipowners, Ship Operators, Managers, Masters,
Owners’ Representatives and Recognised Organisations

Further to the measures implemented by the Directorate to continue to provide an uninterrupted service to the Maltese shipping community under the current exceptional circumstances, the Directorate wishes to inform all concerned of supporting measures that have been implemented as from 1 April 2020.

The Directorate is fully aware that the shipping industry has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and is currently facing serious cash flow issues. In an effort to support shipping companies, owners, managers and operators of Maltese merchant ships and to enable them to address the difficulties encountered due to the wide spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, it has been decided to defer the due payment date of the relevant Registration Fees and the Annual Tonnage Tax of merchant ships (Merchant Shipping Act – First Schedule), of which the anniversary date falls on or after 1 April 2020, by a period of three months from the anniversary.

To this effect, requests to issue renewal Certificates of Registry are still to be made to the Registrar as provided in article 19(4) of the Merchant Shipping Act, accompanied by a request for the deferral of payment of the relevant registration fees and annual tonnage tax, where applicable.

All requests are to be addressed on
Merchant Shipping Directorate 03 April 2020

Implementation of the International Ballast Water Management Convention

The Merchant Shipping Directorate would like to inform all those concerned that Malta ratified the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (Convention). The Convention was transposed into the Laws of Malta through the Merchant Shipping (Ballast Water Management Convention) Regulations, 2017.

Upon entry into force of the Convention and of the Merchant Shipping (Ballast Water Management) Regulations, 2017, as from the 8 September 2017, all Maltese ships engaged on international voyages falling under the scope of the Convention shall comply with the provisions of the Convention and the said Regulations.

Maltese ships to which the Convention applies shall manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard and according to an approved ship-specific Ballast Water Management Plan (BWM Plan). The BWM Plan should at least contain the elements specified in regulation B-1 of the Convention and be developed in line with the Guidelines for Ballast Water Management and Development of Ballast Water Management Plans (G4).

Recalling IMO Circular BWM.2/Circ.40 on Issuance of Ballast Water Management Certificates prior to entry into force of the BWM Convention and Ballast Water Management Plans approved according to the previous Resolution A.868 (20), this Administration would like to reaffirm its intention to apply the solutions contained therein so as to facilitate the fair and consistent implementation of the Convention.

In view of the impracticability related to excessive workload, BWM.2/Circ.40 provides the possibility for vessels to trade with an unapproved BWM Plan on board for up to three months after the entry into force of the Convention combined though with a statement issued to the Company when the BWM Plan has been received for approval. Notwithstanding the above, ship-owners are encouraged to submit BWM Plans for approval, as soon as possible. Furthermore, any BWM Plans, approved in accordance with the previous Resolution A.868 (20) or the latest Resolution MEPC.127 (53), should remain valid until the BWM plan requires revision due to the installation of a Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) in accordance with the revised B3 regulation.

As from 8 September 2017, ships to which regulation E-1 of the Convention applies should carry on board an International Ballast Water Management Certificate in the form provided in Appendix I to the Convention, valid for five years subject to annual, intermediate and renewal surveys and issued after a successful completion of an initial survey. Any Statement/Document of Compliance issued prior to the entry into force of the Convention shall be administratively replaced with an International Ballast Water Management Certificate.

In addition, ships to which the Convention applies shall have on board a Ballast Water Record Book in accordance with regulation B-2 which shall at least contain the information specified in Appendix II to the Convention.

The compliance dates with the Ballast Water Exchange Standard of regulation D-1 and the Ballast Water Performance Standard of regulation D-2 are determined in regulation B-3 of the Convention and the Draft MEPC resolution on implementation of the BWM Convention MEPC 71/WP.11/Rev.1, superseding IMO Resolution A.1088(28).

Existing ships shall comply with the D-2 standard upon completion of:

1) the first renewal survey of the International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) Certificate pursuant to MARPOL, Annex I on or after the 8 September 2017, providing that this survey takes place on or after 8 September 2019, or that the vessel has undertaken the said survey on or after 8 September 2014 but prior to 8 September 2017 or ;

2) the second IOPP renewal survey on or after 8 September 2017, providing that the first IOPP renewal survey on or after 8 September 2017 takes place before 8 September 2019, and the vessel has not undertaken an IOPP renewal survey on or after 8 September 2014 but prior to 8 September 2017.

Ships constructed before 8 September 2017 to which the renewal survey does not apply, shall comply with the D-2 standard not later than 8 September 2024.

Ships constructed on or after 8 September 2017, shall comply with the D-2 standard upon completion date of build.
Ships using a BWMS shall carry on board a Type Approval certificate, in line with the applicable Guidelines for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems (G8). BWMSs used on Maltese ships should have been Type Approved in accordance with the procedures contained in the IMO Guidelines Resolution MEPC.174 (58) or MEPC.279(70), as applicable, i.e. Procedure for approval of ballast water management system (G8) and MEPC.169 (57) – Procedure for approval of ballast water management systems that make use of Active Substances (G9).

The Merchant Shipping (Ballast Water Management) Regulations, 2017, may be downloaded from:

Notices may be downloaded from


Source: Transport Malta

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International Maritime Organization moves ahead with oceans and climate change agenda

Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 71st session 3-7 July 2017

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency charged with regulating international shipping, has progressed its environmental agenda at the recent meeting of its Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 71st session (3-7 July). The Committee clarified the ballast water management schedule, progressed GHG and air pollution issues, adopted new NOx emission control areas, designated a further Particularly Sensitive Sea Area and agreed to work on implementation of the 0.50% global sulphur limit.

This work is helping IMO to fulfil its mandate to protect oceans and human health and to mitigate climate change, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 14 (oceans) and SDG 13 (climate change).

Ballast Water Management Convention clarity   
The MEPC agreed a practical and pragmatic implementation schedule for ships to comply with the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, which aims to stem the transfer of potentially invasive species in ships’ ballast water.

The treaty enters into force on 8 September 2017. Currently, the BWM Convention has been ratified by 61 countries, representing 68.46% of world merchant shipping tonnage.

From the date of entry into force, ships will be required to manage their ballast water to avoid the transfer of potentially invasive species.  All ships will be required to have a ballast water management plan and keep a ballast water record book. Ships will be required to manage their ballast water to meet the so-called D-1 standard or D-2 standard.

The D-1 standard requires ships to conduct the exchange of ballast water such that at least 95% of water by volume is exchanged far away from the coast where it would be released.

The D-2 standard* requires ballast water management to restrict to a specified maximum the amount of viable organisms allowed to be discharged and to limit the discharge of specified indicator microbes harmful to human health.

Draft amendments to the treaty approved by the MEPC clarify when ships must comply with the requirement to meet the D-2 standard.

The draft amendments will be circulated after the entry into force of the BWM Convention on 8 September 2017, with a view to adoption at the next MEPC session (MEPC 72 in April 2018).  Under the approved amendments, new ships, i.e., ships constructed on or after 8 September 2017, shall conduct ballast water management that at least meets the D-2 standard from the date they are put into service. For existing ships, i.e., ships constructed before 8 September 2017, the date for compliance with the D-2 standard is linked with the renewal survey of the ship associated with the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate under MARPOL Annex I. For existing ships this would be the first or second five-year renewal survey after 8 September 2017:

  • By the first renewal survey: this applies when that the first renewal survey of the ship takes place on or after 8 September 2019 or a renewal survey has been completed on or after 8 September 2014 but prior to 8 September 2017.
  • By the second renewal survey: this applies if the first renewal survey after 8 September 2017 takes place before 8 September 2019. In this case, compliance must be by the second renewal survey (provided that the previous renewal survey has not been completed in the period between 8 September 2014 and 8 September 2017).

An existing ship to which the IOPP renewal survey under MARPOL Annex I does not apply shall meet the D-2 standard from the date decided by the Administration, but not later than 8 September 2024.

The MEPC adopted a resolution which resolves that Parties to the BWM Convention should implement the schedule for compliance outlined in the draft amendments, ahead of their adoption and entry into force.

In other work focusing on implementation of the BWM treaty, the MEPC, inter alia:

  • adopted the 2017 Guidelines for ballast water exchange (G6);
  • adopted the 2017 Guidelines for risk assessment under regulation A-4 of the BWM Convention (G7);
  • adopted an MEPC resolution on “The experience-building phase associated with the BWM Convention”;
  • approved the Code for approval of ballast water management systems, and approved draft amendments to the BWM Convention to make the Code mandatory, for adoption at the next session;
  • approved amendments to section E (Survey and certification) of the BWM Convention, also for adoption at MEPC 72;
  • approved a manual on “Ballast Water Management – How to do it”;
  • approved Guidance on contingency measures under the BWM Convention;
  • approved a circular on Application of the BWM Convention to ships operating in sea areas where ballast water exchange in accordance with regulations B-4.1 and D-1 is not possible;
  • granted final approval to one and basic approval to two ballast water management systems that makes use of active substances. (The current list of approved ballast water management systems can be found here – it will be updated with latest approvals shortly.).

Implementation of the global sulphur limit – scope of work agreed
The MEPC agreed the scope of work needed to achieve consistent implementation of the 0.50% m/m global limit of the sulphur content of ships’ fuel oil, which will come into effect from 1 January 2020. The 0.50% limit is prescribed in regulation 14.1.3 of MARPOL Annex VI.

The Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) has been instructed to explore what actions may be taken to ensure consistent and effective implementation of the 0.50% m/m sulphur limit for fuel oil used by ships operating outside designated SOX Emission Control Areas and/or not making use of equivalent means such as exhaust gas cleaning systems; as well as actions that may facilitate the implementation of effective policies by IMO Member States.

To ensure this vital work is completed by 2020, the MEPC approved (subject to endorsement by the IMO Council) the holding of an intersessional working group meeting in the second half of 2018.

In other work related to air pollution matters, the MEPC:

  • adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI to designate the North Sea and the Baltic Sea as emission control areas (ECAs) for nitrogen oxides (NOX) under regulation 13 of MARPOL Annex VI.  Both ECAs will take effect on 1 January 2021, thereby considerably lowering emissions of NOx from international shipping in those areas;
  • adopted amendments to the information to be included in the bunker delivery note relating to the supply of marine fuel oil to ships which have fitted alternative mechanisms to address sulphur emission requirements;
  • adopted the 2017 Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system Guidelines.

Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships 
The MEPC continued to build on the solid work the Organization has undertaken to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping, with work on track for the adoption of an initial IMO strategy on the reduction of GHG emissions from ships in 2018, in accordance with a Roadmap approved at MEPC 70.

The MEPC noted agreement within a working group on a draft outline for the structure of the initial IMO Strategy.  The group met following a week-long meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (26-30 June), which reported on its detailed discussions.

The initial strategy is set to include:

  1. Preamble/introduction/context including emission scenarios
  2. Vision
  3. Levels of ambition
    Guiding principles
  4. List of candidate short-, mid- and long-term further measures with possible timelines and their impacts on States
  5. Barriers and supportive measures; capacity building and technical cooperation; R&D
  6. Follow-up actions towards the development of the revised Strategy
  7. Periodic review of the Strategy

The Committee approved terms of reference for the second and third meetings of the Intersessional Working Group.

In addition to further considering how to progress the matter of reduction of GHG emissions from ships and advise the Committee as appropriate, the second intersessional meeting (ISWG-GHG 2, 23-27 October 2017) has been instructed to further develop the structure and identify core elements of the draft initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships and develop draft text for inclusion in the initial Strategy, with submissions due by 22 September 2017.

The third intersessional meeting (ISWG-GHG 3, 3-6 April 2018) has been instructed, on the basis of the work of ISWG GHG 2, to finalize the draft initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships and submit a report to MEPC 72 (9-13 April 2018).

Energy efficiency measures for ships
Energy-efficiency design standards for new ships and associated operational energy-efficiency measures for existing ships became mandatory in 2013, with the entry into force of relevant amendments to MARPOL Annex VI. The Committee was informed that nearly 2,500 new ocean-going ships have been certified as complying with the energy efficiency standards. In other work related to the implementation of the mandatory energy efficiency measures in MARPOL Annex VI, the MEPC:

  • adopted 2017 Guidelines for Administration verification of ship fuel oil consumption data, to support the implementation of the mandatory MARPOL requirements for ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above to collect consumption data for each type of fuel oil they use, as well as additional specified data, including proxies for transport work, from calendar year 2019;
  • adopted 2017 Guidelines for the development and management of the IMO Ship Fuel Oil Consumption Database;
  • approved an MEPC circular on Submission of data to the IMO data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships from a State not Party to MARPOL Annex VI;
  • approved draft amendments to regulation 21 of MARPOL Annex VI regarding EEDI requirements for ro-ro cargo and ro-ro passenger ships, with a view to adoption at MEPC 72;
  • established a correspondence group on review of the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) beyond phase 2, to report on progress by MEPC 72 and make a recommendation to MEPC 73 on the time period and reduction rates for EEDI phase 3 requirements.

Protecting the Arctic from heavy fuel oil – work to begin at MEPC 72
The MEPC agreed to add a new output in its work programme on the development of measures to reduce risks of use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel by ships in Arctic waters. This new output will appear on the agenda for its next session (MEPC 72) in April 2018.

Member Governments and international organizations were invited to submit concrete proposals on what type of measures should be developed, including the scope of the work, to MEPC 72, so that clear instructions can be given to the PPR Sub-Committee which will carry out the detailed technical work, starting at PPR 6.

The use and carriage of heavy fuel oil is banned in Antarctic waters under MARPOL and the IMO Polar Code recommends that States follow the same practice in the Arctic.

Designation of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Philippines) as a PSSA  
The MEPC approved the final designation of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, situated in the Sulu Sea, Philippines as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), following the adoption by the Maritime Safety Committee of a new Area to be avoided as an associated protective measure. The aim is to reduce the risk of ship groundings in the park, thereby preventing any resulting marine pollution and damage to the fragile coral reef ecosystem, as well as ensuring the sustainability of local artisanal fisheries.

This brings the number of marine areas protected in this way to 15 (plus two extensions).

OSV Chemical Code
The MEPC approved the draft Code for the transport and handling of hazardous and noxious liquid substances in bulk on offshore support vessels (OSV Chemical Code), prepared by PPR 4 and amended and approved by MSC 98, for submission to the thirtieth IMO Assembly for adoption later this year.

Oil pollution model courses approved
Updated IMO Model Courses on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC Model Training Courses) were approved by the MEPC. The OPRC model training courses have been revised to provide up-to-date guidance for preparedness and response to marine oil spills.

Major technical cooperation projects
The MEPC was informed about recent developments with regard to major environment-related technical cooperation (TC) projects. With a view to continuing the technical cooperation efforts in marine biosafety, which started with the GloBallast Partnerships Project which came to an end in June 2017, IMO has secured further funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to prepare a full-scale document for a new global project aimed at assisting with implementation of the IMO Guidelines for controlling and managing ships’ biofouling.

On the sidelines of the MEPC meeting,  leading shipowners and operators, classification societies, engine and technology builders and suppliers, big data providers, and oil companies signed up to a new Global Industry Alliance (GIA) to support shipping and its related industries make the transition towards a low carbon future.  The GIA has been established under the auspices of the GloMEEP Project, a GEF-United Nations Development Program (UNDP)-IMO project to support developing countries implement energy-efficiency measures for shipping.

Meanwhile, the European Union-funded Global MTCC Network (GMN) Project has successfully established maritime technology cooperation centres (MTTCs) in its five target regions – Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Latin America and Pacific. With the goal to support the move towards low-carbon shipping, the MTTCs will focus on capacity-building efforts and implementing pilot projects involving fuel oil consumption data collection and developing low-carbon technologies.


Regulation D-2 Ballast Water Performance Standard

  1. Ships conducting Ballast Water Management in accordance with this regulation shall discharge less than 10 viable organisms per cubic metre greater than or equal to 50 micrometres in minimum dimension and less than 10 viable organisms per millilitre less than 50 micrometres in minimum dimension and greater than or equal to 10 micrometres in minimum dimension; and discharge of the indicator microbes shall not exceed the specified concentrations described in paragraph 2.
  2.  Indicator microbes, as a human health standard, shall include:
    1) Toxicogenic Vibrio cholerae (O1 and O139) with less than 1 colony forming unit (cfu) per 100 millilitres or less than 1 cfu per 1 gram (wet weight) zooplankton samples ;
    2) Escherichia coli less than 250 cfu per 100 millilitres;
    3 Intestinal Enterococci less than 100 cfu per 100 milliliters.

Source: IMO 

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EU invests €22.1 million to support sustainable, efficient transport and energy infrastructure

EU countries have approved the European Commission’s proposal to invest €22.1 million to support seven actions that will help develop sustainable and efficient transport and energy infrastructure. They will receive funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)’s Synergy call. They were chosen as they will create connections between Trans-European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) and the Trans-European Networks for Transport (TEN-T), which identify regions where better links between EU countries in energy and transport respectively are needed.

The seven actions include an assessment of options for building a pipeline that would carry Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Italy to Malta for use as a marine fuel, the development of a cross-border electricity smart grid increasing the energy efficiency of the Croatian railway system, and the creation of electricity storage systems strategically located on key transport corridors between Austria and Germany.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc stated: ‘European transport still depends on oil for 94% of its energy needs. That is why the EU is investing in seven projects to speed up the deployment of alternative energy sources, with a special focus on electrification and multimodal transport.’

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete noted: ‘Enabling synergies between the transport and energy sectors will enhance the effectiveness of EU funding and will contribute to the further integration of the internal energy market. The successful conclusion of the first CEF synergy call is yet another milestone in the achievement of our long-term decarbonisation objectives

Each action contributes to a Project of Common Interest (PCI). PCIs are energy infrastructure projects that are considered crucial to completing Europe’s internal energy market and meeting the EU’s energy policy objectives of affordable, secure and sustainable energy. They are eligible to apply for CEF funding and receive other benefits.


Source: DG MOVE

Shipping on the right course for the Ballast Water Management Convention

The Ballast Water Management Convention (the Convention), aimed at establishing standards and procedures to prevent the spread of aquatic organisms, enters into force and takes effect on 8 September this year. While it represents a significant environmental milestone for our planet, the Convention also means that the maritime industry has to gear up for a huge operational change.

Under the Convention, ships trading in international waters will need to ensure they are fitted with a ship-specific Ballast Water Management System (BWMS), according to the agreed implementation schedule. The BWMS installed must be approved by the Flag State in accordance with approval process defined by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Even vessels from countries which have not acceded to the Convention are required to comply with the standards when entering the ports of IMO Member States that have ratified the Convention.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the Convention, ships entering U.S. waters will also need to meet the stringent standards laid down in the U.S. Ballast Water Regulations and enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). The U.S. has not acceded to the Convention but adopted its own ballast-water regulations in 2012.

This disconnect in requirements has left many shipowners wondering if their vessels will be able to operate in U.S. waters when the Convention comes into force. The uncertainty in this area has been compounded by the fact that only three equipment makers – Optimarin, Alfa Laval and Ocean Saver – have systems that are approved and considered fully compliant with both the Convention and US Ballast Water regulations. A fourth system is currently being considered by the USCG for full approval.

With the Convention entering into force in less than 7 months, the pressure is certainly on for shipowners who must find a suitably robust BWMS for their operations and in the case of existing ships have the system installed by the date of their first International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) Renewal Survey after 8 September this year.

Absorbing costs
Industry watchers expect that the global maritime industry will spend upwards of USD75 billion on equipping their vessels with ballast water treatment systems. Depending on the size of the vessel, its ballast water capacity and type of treatment, estimates show that the cost of implementation of the treatment systems can range from half a million to five million USD per vessel with some 40,000 ships to be equipped. This is in addition to other maintenance and operational costs.

Given these costs, there is the consideration that it may be more economically feasible to scrap a substantial number of older ships rather than modify them to meet the Convention’s standards.

Moreover, individual shipowners will also need to invest in training crew members to handle new equipment, ensuring that appropriate safety protocols are well established, and costs associated with disruptions due to dry-docking and equipment installation are contained.

In the current depressed market, these compliance costs, and other ancillary costs have been of significant concern to shipowners. For many countries, they have even been a barrier to ratification.

Making progress
In spite of the nervousness about the ratification, shipowners are generally confident of meeting the standards in time. Having a firm date for the Convention’s implementation provides certainty for timelines and budget.

Furthermore, faced with the pressure of the Convention, equipment manufacturers and engineering companies are innovating to ensure that effective equipment and systems are made commercially available to help shipowners move forward. Currently, there are over 60-type approved systems, some of which make use of UV.

To spur greater trust in ballast water systems, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has also been collaborating with the IMO to ensure a more rigorous type approval process exists and as a result, the IMO adopted the more robust 2016 Guidelines for the Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems (G8) in October 2016.

The IMO also agreed in 2016 that the approval guidelines should be made into a mandatory code and the Convention amended accordingly following its entry into force. As a result, the availability of commercial equipment that can be considered to effectively treat ballast water in conditions normally encountered in the daily operation of ships should grow as systems gain approval in accordance with the latest revision of the approval guidelines (G8). The availability of systems approved in accordance with the 2016 Guidelines (G8) and with USCG approval will fuel confidence in the Convention.

Navigating the way forward
It has taken 13 years to take the Convention from adoption to ratification and while there have been significant concerns and challenges in its ratification, the long-term benefits should outweigh the costs. The risks to aquatic biodiversity and human health arising from the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water will be eradicated with the implementation of treatment systems.

As an aside, some in the industry are saying the Convention may address existing vessel over-supply in the market, by encouraging shipowners to consider scrapping vessels that are over 15 years old.

More importantly, compliance with the Convention offers shipowners the opportunity to feedback on the efficacy of treatment systems, to help shape the Convention, and the industry as a whole. Here, the ICS provides a key avenue for shipowners to collaborate with other industry players and the IMO to refine the Convention and help facilitate implementation.

The success of the Convention is ultimately dependent on multi-level collaboration within the global maritime industry. On a macro level, inter-agency coordination amongst the flag States is necessary for effective enforcement of ballast water management strategies. On a micro level, careful planning and coordination is vital if shipowners are to meet the requirements of the Convention while minimising preparatory and compliance-related costs.

This multi-level collaborative approach will also be in action during the Sea Asia 2017 conferences. Held in April in Singapore, Sea Asia 2017 will bring together leaders from across the industry and around the globe to analyse, debate and find solutions to issues confronting the maritime industry.

One of the areas we will discuss is the Convention and its expected impact on the sector. I look forward to continuing the discussion on how we can work together as an industry to navigate these challenges moving forward.

Source: Article Written By By Peter Hinchliffe, Secretary General, International Chamber of Shipping. Mr. Hinchliffe is a speaker for the ‘Navigating Challenges: The Way Forward’ session at Sea Asia 2017.

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European Shipping Week kicks off the 2017 Maritime Year

EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc has called 2017 to be the “Maritime Year” to raise awareness for the potential and the challenges of maritime sector and to review EU policy on maritime transport. Today’s launch of the European Shipping Week kicks off the 2017 Maritime Year: Until 3 March the Shipping week will gather maritime transport experts in Brussels for a series of events on the key issues facing European and Global shipping.

EU Transport Commissioner Bulc said: “The European Shipping Week gives a perfect start to the 2017 Maritime Year. Over the next months, we will work to a sustainable shipping sector that is also fit for the digital age.  We will also aim to attract new investors and most importantly, more skilled people to this sector. The European Shipping Week will provide very valuable input to the review of the EU’s maritime policy framework and I look forward to contributions from all stakeholders.”

In 2017, the Commission will examine that EU policy on maritime transport supports the sector’s performance and competitiveness in Europe and abroad, its efficiency and its sustainability for the benefit of the EU economy, its people and the environment. This review contributes to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s priorities. The Commission will also review essential parts of the EU’s maritime safety legislation, adopt new rules on waste handling and disposal in ports, and continue its efforts to promote and facilitate the presence of European shipping in third countries.

Documents overview

Maritime Transport: A Selection of Essential EU Legislation Dealing with Safety and Pollution Prevention

European Maritime Transport Strategy until 2018

Mid-term report on the implementation of its European Maritime Transport Strategy until 2018

2017 EMSA Study on the use of Fuel Cells in Shipping

2016 EMSA Study on the use of ethyl and methyl alcohol as alternative fuels in shipping 

Guidelines for ships in need of assistance

In 2016, the maritime industry awarded the European Commission the “Salvage and Wreck Removal Award 2016” for the EU operational guidelines on places of refuge for handling ships in need of assistance.


Documents relevant for the European Sustainable Shipping Forum (ESSF)

ESSF subgroup Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS)

Acceptability of discharges of scrubber wash water

Final report of the sub-group for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS)

ESSF subgroup LNG as marine fuel

Study on the completion of an EU framework on LNG-fuelled ships and its relevant fuel provision infrastructure

Submission MEPC 70/INF.40 about the EU Study on the Completion of an EU Framework on LNG-fuelled Ships

ESSF subgroups MRV Monitoring, Verification and Accreditation

22/11/2016 – Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/2071 – Methods for monitoring carbon dioxide emissions and the rules for monitoring other relevant information

22/11/2016 – Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/2072 – Monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport

04/11/2016 – Implementing Regulation(EU) 2016/1927 – Templates for monitoring plans, emissions reports and documents of compliance pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/757

04/11/2016 – Implementing Regulation(EU) 2016/1928 – Determination of cargo carried for categories of ships other than passenger, ro-ro and container ships pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2015/757

19/05/2015 – Regulation 2015/757- Monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport, and amending Directive 2009/16/EC

28/06/2016 Final /Progress report final report of the subgroup on recommendations on monitoring rules and methods determination of cargo carried for other ship categories and monitoring templates

28/06/2016 Final /Progress report final report of the subgroup on recommendations on verification issues and accreditation of verifiers process

ESSF subgroup Implementation of the Sulphur Directive

EMSA Sulphur Inspection Guidance

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/253 laying down the rules concerning the sampling and reporting under Council Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the sulphur content of marine fuels

New Sulphur requirements – are you in compliance? (Denmark)

Submission MEPC 68-3-18 Guidelines for on board sampling and the verification of the sulphur content of the fuel oil used on board ships

ESSF subgroup Financing

Green Shipping Guarantee (GSG) programme

The ESSF Financing Final report 2017

ESSF subgroup Port Reception Facilities

Commission Guidelines for the interpretation of Directive 2000/59/EC on port reception facilities for ship generated waste and cargo residues

Guidance for Ship Inspections under the Port Reception Facilities Directive

Technical Recommendations on the Implementation of Directive 2000/59/EC on Port Reception Facilities.

Interim report on recommendations on the principles of Cost Recovery Systems

Report on harmonization of the principles of Cost Recovery Systems

ESSF subgroup Research and Innovation

ESSF Research and Innovation Final Report

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€1 billion to boost investment in European transport infrastructure

The European Commission is launching a new and innovative way to finance transport infrastructure projects in Europe. The call for proposals will seek to combine €1 billion of grants (Connecting Europe Facility – Transport) with financing from public financial institutions, the private sector or, for the first time, the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe and a top priority for the Juncker Commission.

This first ever combination of funds will help to achieve the twin objectives of boosting investment to fund innovative, sustainable transport infrastructure upgrades while supporting jobs needed to put that infrastructure in place. The call contributes to the implementation of the Commission’s Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility under the Energy Union, and also supports investments in “sustainable transport” in view of the upcoming road mobility initiatives to be launched later in the year.

Commission Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: “The mobility of the future must be clean, connected and competitive, and requires new ways of financing. Today’s call for proposal is an important first step in this regard. We will build on it, this year, in our work to implement the Low-Emission Mobility Strategy for Europe.”

Commission Vice President responsible for Jobs, Growth, investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: “The European Fund for Strategic Investments was designed as a flexible tool to be used in combination with other EU funding sources so as to maximise their impact and help achieve Europe’s broader policy objectives. I am delighted that, with today’s initiative, the EFSI will complement the Connecting Europe Facility to help support the investment and jobs needed to build smart, sustainable transport networks.”

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc added: “Achieving our vision for seamless, intelligent and sustainable mobility in Europe requires investments that public funds alone cannot provide. That is why we are launching an innovative solution to make the best of our resources, and unlock untapped private investments, with particular focus on Cohesion countries. Today’s action is a sign of solidarity on the move.”

For the first time, this call for proposals of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) will require the combination of grants with financing from the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the European Investment Bank, National Promotional Banks or private sector investors. In order to receive Connecting Europe Facility support, applicants will be asked to show evidence of the projects’ financial readiness to obtain complementary funding from public or private financing institutions.

Selected projects must contribute to sustainable, innovative and seamless transportation along the Trans-European Transport Network. Particular emphasis will be placed on projects removing bottlenecks, supporting cross-border links and accelerating the digitalisation of transport, especially in areas with higher potential and market gaps such as in Cohesion countries, sustainable and efficient transport systems, and enhancing inter-modality and inter-operability in the transport network. This includes new technologies and traffic management systems such as the European Railway Traffic Management System, Intelligent Transport Systems for roads or the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research Programme.

Support will be granted on a competitive basis, following a thorough evaluation and selection process. The call will have two deadlines for submission of proposals, the first one on 14 July 2017and the second one on 30 November 2017.


Under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), €24.05 billion will be made available from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects of common interest in the EU Member States. Of these, €19.3 billion have so far been legally committed. Information on the projects that have already been awarded EU support is available through the EU results tool.

The Investment Plan focuses on strengthening European investments to create jobs and growth. It does so by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI so far are expected to mobilise over EUR 168 billion in total investments across 28 Member States and to support more than 387 000 SMEs. On 14 September 2016, the European Commission proposed extending EFSI by increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths. Find the latest EFSI figures by sector and by country. For more info, see the FAQs.

Finding ways to find synergies between and complement EFSI support with other EU funds is a key part of that. Such combinations can help to unlock additional investment projects in the EU, especially in countries which so far have benefitted less from the EFSI than some of their peers.

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Malta Maritime Forum and Malta Marittima Agency sign memorandum of understanding

The Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy Dr Emmanuel Mallia presided over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Malta Maritime Forum and Malta Marittima Agency on Friday 20th January 2017.

Malta has an active maritime industry and is home to a broad range of economic operators, which range from financial services to insurance, yachting and marina management, consulting and legal services, logistics, transportation and aquaculture. Malta acknowledges that there is nowadays more recognition for maritime industries to be involved in the national and regional economies by means of maritime clusters.

Dr Mallia emphasized, ‘we are here because we believe in building bonds and relationship for the benefit of the economy. This MoU is in fact in line with the Government’s philosophy to create and foster effective relations with the Private Sector and facilitate communication’

Malta Marittima Agency is still in its infancy, however, work has been underway since its establishment and in line with the European Union’s policy and Blue Growth Agenda, it is expected to be a catalyst in bringing together stakeholders from the public and private sector to further enhance the potential of our marine and maritime industries.

The Legal Notice bestows upon the Agency a number of functions and duties. The Agency is duty bound to promote maritime sectoral clusters and to encourage these sectors to focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, and environmentally sustainable developments. Additionally, the Agency shall promote the beneficial aspects of the exchange of ideas between private and public entities and participation at EU and international meetings and conferences.

‘This MoU provides a good platform for the establishment of a long and stable relationship between the two entities. It is a known fact that this Government believes in the Private Sector, we hope that this Memorandum of Understanding contributes to this end. I encourage you to build on this promise for the benefit and growth of this important sector. I am confident that we will both benefit from this opportunity to enhance collaboration between us.’

Dr. Joe Borg, Chairman of the Malta Maritime Forum said, on his part, that during its first year of activities, the Forum has managed to go beyond its initial targets. Particular reference was made to the extent of recognition that the Forum has achieved, both locally as well as at an international level. During 2016, the Forum managed to gain the recognition and the support of the Maltese Government and of the various ministries it engaged with. On an international level, the Forum has been accepted as a member to the European Network of Maritime Clusters. The Forum has also been instrumental in submitting a number of proposals in relation to maritime aspects, for inclusion in Malta’s EU Presidency Agenda. Since its setting up, the Forum has carried out extensive work in relation to the Maritime Educational aspect and it is envisaged that initiatives in the educational field will be launched during early 2017. Dr. Borg also made reference to the extent of Corporate, Associate and Individual Members who have subscribed to the Malta Maritime Forum and who represent a very wide spectrum of the local and foreign maritime sector.

Dr. Joe Borg stated ‘the Malta Maritime Forum was pleased with the recognition being given to the Forum and looked forward to extended cooperation between the two parties, in the interest of the maritime sector.’

Dr. Joe Borg – Chairman and Mr Joseph Bugeja – Board Member & CEO signed the MoU on behalf of the Malta Maritime Forum, whereas Dr. Daniel Aquilina – Chairman and Mr Franco Schembri – Head signed for Malta Marittima Agency.

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