Supporting the maritime dimension of the European Green Deal

Maritime transport is an essential element of global trade and the economy.

In the EU, it carries 77% of external trade and 35% of intra-EU trade. In 2019, ships flagged in EU Member States made up almost one fifth of the total world fleet in dead weight tonnage, a measure of cargo carrying capacity. Over one third of the ships engaged in international trade are owned by individuals and businesses registered in the EU.

But even though the maritime sector brings substantial economic and social benefits, it has also an impact on the environment and the health of EU citizens in many areas.

EMSA acts to lessen the environmental impact exerted by the maritime sector in the EU. In its role as facilitator and technical hub, the Agency supports the EU’s priorities of decarbonisation, smart mobility, sustainable alternative fuels, ship energy efficiency, accelerated use of on-shore power supplies, protection of biodiversity and zero pollution ambitions.

EMSA offers expertise in the field of environmental protection, helping the European Commission and EU Member States to address a wide variety of ship-sourced water and air pollution.

EMSA also contributes to the European Green Deal, a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050. In particular, EMSA is giving support to the ‘Fit for 55 Package’ adopted in 2021 which encompasses the Zero Pollution Action Plan, the FuelEU Maritime Initiative and the potential extension of ETS to shipping.

EMSA offers a range of services to help coastal States around Europe respond quickly, effectively and efficiently to oil or chemical marine pollution incidents from ships and oil and gas installations.

The services offered by the Agency can be described as a “toolbox” from which the requesting State can pick and choose the most suitable response means. Through these services, EMSA aims to complement and top-up existing response resources at national and regional level.

The services include:

 A network of stand-by oil spill response vessels made available through contracts with commercial vessel operators. EMSA’s contracted vessels have been specifically adapted for oil spill response operations and are on stand-by, carrying out their usual commercial activities.

 The Equipment Assistance Service (EAS), which consists of stand-alone oil pollution response equipment stockpiles in selected areas around Europe. This service complements the response capacity available through EMSA’s network of oil spill response vessels. The EAS equipment is on stand-by, ready to be mobilised around-the-clock anywhere in European waters and shared sea basins.

 The MAR-ICE Network of experts, who provide upon request product-specific information and specialist advice on chemicals involved in maritime emergencies, both remotely (MAR-ICE level 1) and on-site at the requester’s command centre (MAR-ICE level 2). The MAR-ICE Network is available 24/7 to EU Member States, EFTA coastal States, and coastal EU Candidate Countries via a dedicated contact point.