World Ocean Day 2023-supporting a sustainable global maritime industry
The oceans play a crucial role in supporting human livelihoods, providing jobs and income for millions of people worldwide. On World Oceans Day 2023, we celebrate efforts to put our oceans first.
On 8 June 2022, we proudly support the United Nations World Oceans Day, which celebrates the world's oceans and raises awareness about ocean conservation. This year's theme is 'Planet Blue: But Tides Are Changing’.
With 99% of commodities entering and leaving Australia by sea, we are committed to ensuring a sustainable and global maritime industry, including through our work in the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Decarbonisation of shipping
Our commitment to protecting the ocean environment includes supporting efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships. This year we announced changes to Marine Order 97—Marine pollution prevention—air pollution, in line with the global efforts to reduce the carbon intensity of international shipping by 40% by 2030, compared to 2008 levels. The short-term measure applies to certain types of foreign-flagged and commercial Australian vessels that undertake international voyages.
We continue to work closely with other countries and delegations at the IMO to support measures to decarbonise international shipping by 2050. We are also committed to working with our industry to support the transition to a decarbonised maritime sector, including through sponsoring the MIAL Decarbonisation Summitt series. We will continue to actively work with our stakeholders to support this transition.
The Australian government has recently committed to establishing the Maritime Emissions Reduction National Action Plan (MERNAP) which will seek to support industry in this transition by setting a Nationally consistent strategic direction.
Addressing marine plastic litter from ships
In 2018, the IMO adopted an Action Plan to address marine plastic litter from ships in response to growing global concerns about the impact of plastic litter on the marine environment and human health. The Action Plan aims to enhance existing global IMO regulations and introduce new measures to further reduce marine plastic litter from ships by 2025.
We are working with the IMO to implement actions to reduce marine plastic litter from ships, including work to reduce the loss of fishing gear through the introduction of reporting and marking requirements for this gear, and the enhancement of regulatory measures for the maritime transport of plastic pellets.
Australia has also joined the global High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, signalling the Government's strong ambition to end plastic pollution worldwide by 2040, including plastic pollution from ships.
Reducing pollution from ship garbage
The IMO has adopted several requirements to eliminate and reduce the amount of garbage being discharged into the sea from ships. These will be further strengthened through the adoption of new requirements for ships of 100 gross tonnage and above to maintain a garbage record book, previously only required for ships of 400 gross tonnage and above. These requirements will come into effect in May 2024.
Improving sewage system requirements
Work at the IMO is underway to introduce new global requirements to improve and monitor sewage systems on ships to ensure they continue to work efficiently through their lifetime. AMSA is participating in discussions at the IMO to develop these new requirements.
On World Oceans Day, let us all do our part to protect our oceans and the life and livelihoods they support. Through collaborative efforts, we can help ensure that the oceans remain healthy and resilient for generations to come.