Removing the threat to Baltic waters
Like many marine zones, the Baltic Sea has a very sensitive marine environment. Apart from the natural factors at work, the area also experiences large volumes of shipping traffic which remain a constant threat. Despite this, many coastal regions have few or no contingency plans in place. The Baltic Master II project is now beginning to address this gap by focusing on two key areas: improving the on-land response capacity to oil spills and enhancing the prevention of pollution from maritime transport.
“Vessels are not allowed to discharge any oil or rubbish into the sea, and ports and terminals are obliged to provide disposal facilities that don’t cause any delays or extra costs to the vessels. Cooperation between the ports and shipping lines is a must to make this work in reality. The Baltic Master II project ensures this cooperation takes place.”
Anders Sjöblom, Port of Kalmar, Sweden
The current project picks up where the previous Baltic Master project left off, and will ensure that coastal zone management includes a suitable response system in line with the traffic volume, which is currently not the case. Four work packages will be used to ensure safety for both the environment and the well-being of coastal communities, given the Baltic Sea’s classification as a particularly sensitive sea area.
United front to save Baltic Sea from pollution
The project brings together local, regional and national authorities, research institutes, universities and pan-Baltic organisations, ensuring a combination of hands-on knowledge and strategic work. The project is divided into four work packages: project management and administration; communication and information; improved on-land response capacity to oil spills at sea; and enhanced prevention of pollution, including treating ship-generated waste. The project will also contribute to practical solutions and suggestions for strategic investments in maritime protection.
Message echoes across waters
Given the diversity of partners involved in the project, updated information and communication is important and will be achieved through a communication strategy, joint action plan on dissemination, website with intranet, partner meetings and training courses. Press and media activities will also be arranged to ensure wide-scale awareness of the project. A final document called ‘Vision of the Baltic Sea’ will be produced and outline expectations of the Baltic Sea of tomorrow.
Tools to tackle pollution
Oil contingency plans will be developed, updated and tested in a scenario exercise. An ‘Environmental Atlas’ produced will also be a relevant coastal management tool, while guidelines will be drafted and cover how to integrate contingency planning in coastal management. The final work package will examine the existing legal framework regulating maritime pollution and see where this can be improved. Given the key role of ports in pollution prevention, Baltic Master II will investigate common solutions for waste management at ports and on board vessels.