Fourth Meeting of the Mediterranean Network of Law Enforcement Officials relating to MARPOL within the framework of the Barcelona Convention (MENELAS) – Apr 29, 2021

Operational discharges at sea by ships are regulated mainly under the MARPOL Convention. Numerous illicit ship pollution discharges can still be observed at sea, requesting action at the regional level for detecting and prosecuting such infringements.

Since the adoption of the “Prevention and Emergency Protocol” in 2002, REMPEC has been working towards setting-up a sound basis for the development of marine pollution surveillance and monitoring systems in the region. In 2013, the Mediterranean Network of Law Enforcement Officials relating to MARPOL within the framework of the Barcelona Convention (MENELAS) was established by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention to facilitate cooperation between its members in order to improve the enforcement of the international regulations regarding discharges at sea from ships as laid down in the MARPOL Convention.

The Fourth Meeting of MENELAS financed by the Mediterranean Trust Fund (MTF) was organised remotely by REMPEC from 21 to 22 April 2021.

The meeting gathered over 50 participants from 17 Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Libya, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Spain, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, and the European Union, as well as representatives from relevant regional and international organisations, namely the Secretariats of the United Nations Environment Programme / Coordinating Unit for the Mediterranean Action Plan - Barcelona Convention (UNEP/MAP), the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds), INTERPOL, the OSPAR Commission, the Bonn Agreement, the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) and the RAMOGE Agreement as well as the Chair of the North Sea Network of Investigators and Prosecutors (NSN) and President of the Network of Prosecutors on Environmental Crime in the Baltic Sea Region (ENPRO), and representatives from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the MedFund.

The Meeting agreed upon a set of conclusions and recommendations paving the way towards the finalisation of:

  • a decision to apply, across the Mediterranean region, criteria for a common minimum level of fines for each offense provided for under the Annexes to MARPOL; and
  • a common marine oil pollution detection/investigation report, to facilitate exchanges between Mediterranean coastal states and support judicial procedures.

The Meeting also agreed to explore how to develop the modalities of possible creation and operation of a regional “Blue Fund”, which could be made up of part of the fines from illicit ship pollution discharges collected by Mediterranean coastal States.

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