International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu has backed call for enhanced action at all levels to mitigate the threats to the global oceans described in the recently-published report of the Global Ocean Commission (GOC), From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean, and its .
“In my view, thoughtful development of ocean regulations, coupled with early entry into force, effective implementation, stringent compliance oversight and vigorous enforcement of international standards are the best ways to protect and sustain the precious marine environment and its resources.
Through the application of these principles, for example, the average number of large oil spills (>700 tonnes) during the 2000s was just an eighth of that during the 1970s.
This dramatic reduction has been due to the combined efforts of IMO, through its Member Governments and the oil/shipping industries to improve safety and pollution prevention,” Mr. Sekimizu said.
With regard to sustainable use of the oceans, particularly fishing, Mr. Sekimizu referred to IMO’s work with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, as well as the IMO Cape Town agreement of 2012, aimed at addressing fishing vessel safety.
Regarding the need to strengthen the governance of the high seas through promoting care and recovery, Mr. Sekimizu pointed to IMO’s lead role in the development of ecosystem-based management tools applicable to all marine areas and the designation to date of fourteen Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas, and the adoption of various special areas under MARPOL addressing operational discharges from shipping.
Furthermore, IMO has established multiple traffic separation schemes and other ship routeing systems in major congested shipping areas in the world.
With respect to the report’s Proposal 5 (Plastics – Keeping them out of the Ocean), Annex V of IMO’s MARPOL treaty prohibits the discharge of plastics from ships.
The key issue is effective implementation, Mr. Sekimizu noted.
Press Release, August 1, 2014