Promising progress achieved in combatting illicit ship pollution discharges in the Mediterranean – Oct 15, 2019

The Third Meeting of the Mediterranean Network of Law Enforcement Officials relating to MARPOL within the framework of the Barcelona Convention (MENELAS), organised by REMPEC, gathered 13 Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (12 Mediterranean coastal States and the European Union) as well as 5 regional and international organisations, in Valletta, Malta from 15 to 16 October 2019. 

The Meeting discussed about new administrative and judicial cooperation tools, the harmonisation of pecuniary sanctions for illicit ship pollution discharges in the Mediterranean, operational cooperation as well as cooperation with other regional and international organisations, amongst others. The participants actively contributed to the discussions by sharing their opinions as well as experiences on cooperative approaches that could contribute to the enhanced effectiveness of law enforcement activities with a view to further deterring illicit ship pollution discharges in the Mediterranean. 

Whilst operationalising discussions from previous meetings, and under the Moroccan presidency of the network, the Meeting mandated the working group within MENELAS to: 

  • prepare a draft common marine oil pollution detection/investigation report; 
  • study the modalities of possible creation and operation, including in terms of governance and financing, of a regional "Blue Fund", as proposed by France; 
  • review existing applicable sanctions at national level with regard to illicit ship pollution discharges; 
  • prepare a draft decision to apply criteria for a common minimum level of fines for each offense provided for under the Annexes to MARPOL. 

The Meeting, which was financed by the Mediterranean Trust Fund (MTF), elected Croatia as chair of the network for the period 2020-2021.