In addition to the major environmental issues, a significant amount of other environmental concerns are being addressed in international and regional regulatory fora.
Some of these issues are specific to shipping, such as ships' noise and strikes with cetaceans, and have been brought to the attention of the IMO and national maritime administrations. Others have arisen when horizontal environmental measures aimed at protecting ecosystems or preventing loss of biodiversity have been implemented. These have found their way into legislation without a particular consideration of the particularities of shipping, but still often have explicit or implicit consequences for maritime traffic. This is often the case in horizontal EU environmental legislation, which is increasingly targeting marine areas and activities.
Finally, there is a series of on-going issues which are not on the regulatory agenda yet, but which might be so in the future, or may advance in the form of voluntary guidelines. One example is the discussion on 'green ships', i.e., whether ships that meet certain pre-defined environmental performance criteria should not only be considered as more efficient, but also should be more favourably treated financially or otherwise by Member States of the IMO or when visiting EU ports.
Considering the wealth of environmental legislation relevant to shipping and the limited possibilities for a maritime administration to keep updated with all developments, EMSA has considered that it is useful to keep under observation various developments in the environmental field which may have an impact on shipping in the near future.