Q20. ‘Sea is an important Component of the Cosmos’. Discuss in the light of the above statement the role of the IMO(International Maritime Organisation) in protecting environment and enhancing maritime safety and security. (15m)
The sea holds a significant place within the Cosmos; it forms a part of ‘Global Commons’ and helps in sustaining life on Earth. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has a pivotal role in safeguarding the environment through its various initiatives and guidelines.
Contribution of IMO in
Protecting the Environment:
- Water Management: The Ballast Water Management Convention establishes guidelines for the treatment and discharge of ballast water, mitigating the potential introduction of invasive species.
- MARPOL Convention: The IMO’s MARPOL Convention sets out regulations to prevent various types of pollution from ships, including oil pollution, chemical pollution, sewage, and air emissions.
- Energy Efficiency Regulations: – The IMO has established regulations to improve the energy efficiency of ships, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. E.g The Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and the Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII).
- Emission Control Areas (ECAs): – The IMO has designated specific ECAs where stringent emission limits are enforced to reduce sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions from ships. This helps mitigate air pollution in coastal areas. E.g. In 2021, the IMO adopted a strategy to address marine plastic litter from ships.
- Global Sulphur Cap: reducing the permissible sulphur content in fuel oil used on ships. This significantly reduces air pollution from the shipping industry.
Enhancing maritime Safety and Security:
- SOLAS Convention (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea): for the safety of merchant ships. It sets standards for ship construction, equipment, and operation to ensure the safety of life at sea.
- Security Measures: introduced the ISPS Code to enhance security at ports and on ships, safeguarding vessels and cargo.
- Piracy and Armed Robbery Countermeasures: collaboration with international organizations and naval forces to address piracy and armed robbery at sea. E.g The IMO has a close working relationship with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
- Search and Rescue (SAR): The IMO’s Global SAR Plan ensures that search and rescue services are available globally, saving lives and improving the overall safety of maritime navigation.
Through regulations, best practices, and international collaboration, IMO preserves the marine ecosystem, reduces pollution, and ensures safe maritime operations. These endeavours are vital for both the planet’s well-being and the global economy.
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