MARPOL: AMSA Joins With Environmental Group

Credit: Tangaroa Blue Foundation

By MarEx 2016-05-06 23:52:03

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the Tangaroa Blue Foundation have joined forces to prevent marine debris from ships.

AMSA is the national maritime agency whose responsibilities include protecting the marine environment from shipping related impacts and is committed to maintaining a safe and clean marine environment. Part of AMSA’s role in ensuring clean seas is the administration of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). MARPOL prevents marine pollution by managing the discharge of waste from ships.

Tangaroa Blue is an Australian registered charity that coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI). AMDI is a network of community groups and government agencies focused on reducing the amount of marine debris washing into our oceans. Their work includes beach clean-up activities, marine debris monitoring and administration of the Australian Marine Debris Database.

A Memorandum of Understanding signed by AMSA and Tangaroa Blue last week will promote cooperation and information sharing activities, which will support both parties in minimizing marine debris. 

While the majority of marine debris comes from land-based sources, preventing waste discharge from ships is a key focus for AMSA in environmental protection.

AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley said the relationship will support the implementation and enforcement of the MARPOL convention by keeping AMSA informed of marine debris that may wash up on our beaches.

“The information collected by Tangaroa Blue volunteers in beach clean-ups helps us to build a better understanding of pollution incidents at sea,” said Kinley. “This will support investigations of illegal discharge of waste from ships and contribute to community awareness of marine pollution prevention.”

Tangaroa Blue Managing Director Heidi Taylor said the agreement provides a platform for citizen scientists involved in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative to report on items of interest to AMSA that are found during beach clean-up events.

“Tangaroa Blue Foundation volunteers provide extra sets of eyes out on the ground around the country to assist in collecting and reporting information through to AMSA on marine environment pollution.”

Tagaroa Blue says 18,000 pieces of plastic are estimated to float in every square kilometer of ocean, and over 75 percent of what is removed from beaches is made of plastic. 633 species worldwide including 77 Australian species are impacted by marine debris.