The emissions from ships have significant adverse effects on human health, as well as on the environment. For instance, emissions generated during marine engine combustion contribute to the formation of SO4 aerosols, which, along with other types of particulate matter (PM), are able to penetrate deep into the lungs of humans and all living organisms. Exposure to such pollutants is linked to lung cancer, cardiovascular illnesses and asthma. The WHO reports indicate that the “highest ambient air pollution levels are in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.”


One way to combat the challenge posed by ship emissions is to, in accordance with MARPOL Convention, designate the Mediterranean Sea as an emission control area for SOx (Med SOx ECA), where special requirements will be implemented to reduce ship emissions. To prepare for the possible designation of Med SOx ECA, and with the relevant mandate, REMPEC has prepared:


Med SOx ECA Story Map and video

As part of the Digital Campaign on Mediterranean Coast Day 2020, and to mark the first edition of the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies (IDCABS) in the Mediterranean on 7 September 2020, UNEP/MAP and INFO/RAC joined their efforts, with the technical support of REMPEC, to launch a website that aims at raising public awareness and enhancing decision making process on air pollution in the Mediterranean Area.


The Med SOx ECA Story Map put in the spotlight the road map for a proposal for the possible designation of the Mediterranean Sea, as a whole, as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides pursuant to MARPOL Annex VI, within the framework of the Barcelona Convention.

More recently, REMPEC also launched a video on Med SOx ECA on 3 September 2021.


Roadmap: Goals and Main Steps


Med SOx ECA Roadmap.png

The Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean and its Protocols at their 21st Meeting, adopted Decision IG.24/8 on the Road Map for a Proposal for the Possible Designation of the Mediterranean Sea, as a whole, as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides Pursuant to MARPOL Annex VI, within the Framework of the Barcelona Convention.

The road map outlines the process towards a proposal for the possible designation of the proposed Med SOX ECA, elaborating the goals, steps, timetable, including milestones and actions, which serve this purpose.


Roadmap: Implementation

In accordance with the road map, REMPEC has been providing continued assistance for the ratification and effective implementation of MARPOL Annex VI to the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, which so request.

210312 SECA 2.png

REMPEC, the Mediterranean Pollution Assessment and Control Programme (MED POL) and the Plan Bleu Regional Activity Centre (PB/RAC), have also led the activities related to the completion of the knowledge gathering and the carrying out of the further studies as well as the finalisation of the draft submission to the IMO for a proposal for the possible designation of the Med SOx ECA, under the guidance of the SOx ECA(s) Technical Committee of Experts, in line with the agreed road map.