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Med set to become latest SECA

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Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) and its Protocols concluded their 22nd meeting (COP 22, Antalya, Turkey, 7-10 December 2021) last week with a package of action-oriented decisions to protect the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment and bolster sustainable development.

Of most immediate interest to shipping is the move to declare the whole Mediterranean Sea a SECA where sulphur levels in fuel would be limited to 0.1%. Currently the territorial seas of EU member states in the Mediterranean already apply this limit under the EU Sulphur Directives.

The 22 Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, and the European Union debated the establishment of a full ECA but decided at this stage to only limit SOx emissions.

The request to declare the whole Mediterranean Sea a SECA will now pass to the IMO and could become effective by 2025.

The parties to the Barcelona Convention have agreed to work on introducing a NOX Emission Control Area over the next two years.

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