Promoted Conventions

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Cartagena Convention and Oil Spills Protocol

Link to Regional Framework

The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation, 1990 (OPRC 90)

The OPRC 1990 was adopted in London at the IMO headquarters on 30 November 1990. The aim of the OPRC 1990 is to provide a global framework for international cooperation and mutual assistance in combating major oil spill incidents (article 6) and to encourage States to develop and maintain adequate capability to deal with oil pollution emergencies. The OPRC Convention recognizes the importance of involving the oil and shipping industry in the implementation of the Convention and the “polluter Pays” principle.

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In 2000, a Protocol to the OPRC 1990 was adopted to encompass hazardous and noxious substances (OPRC-HNS Protocol).

Both the Cartagena Oil Spill Protocol and OPRC Convention require countries to develop and maintain an adequate capacity to effectively and promptly deal with oil pollution emergencies.

This preparedness should include as a minimum:

    • A National Contingency Plan
    • Designated national authorities and focal points responsible for oil pollution preparedness and response
    • Oil pollution reporting procedures and arrangements for handling requests for assistance
    • A minimum level of pre-positioned oil spill combating equipment
    • A program of exercises for oil pollution response organizations and training of personnel
    • Detailed plans and communication capabilities for responding to an oil pollution incident
    • A mechanism or arrangement to co-ordinate the response to an oil pollution incident with the capabilities to mobilize the necessary resources

Find the text of the Convention here.

Regional OPRC Plans

The Article 8 of the Oil Spill Protocol to the Cartagena Convention requires the development in the Wider Caribbean Region of a Regional OPRC Plan. RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe coordinated with the assistance of other Partners the creation of two Regional OPRC Plans. One encompasses the island States and Territories of the Caribbean (Caribbean Island OPRC Plan), while the other focuses on Central American countries (CAOP Regional Plan).

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The Plans provide a framework under which Wider Caribbean States and Territories may cooperate at the operational level in responding to oil spill incidents.

The overall objective of the Plans is to provide a cooperative scheme for mutual assistance from member States, Territories, and organizations in the event of a major oil spill incident which exceeds the response capability of a national government or oil industry.

In case of a significant oil spill, please use the Caribbean Pollution Report format, found here to notify neighboring states and RAC/REMPEITC-CARIBE.

Caribbean Island OPRC plan

Under the Cartagena Convention (1983) for the protection and development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region and the Protocol concerning co-operation in combating oil spills in the Wider Caribbean Region, the Caribbean countries drafted a Sub-Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan for the Island States and Territories of the Wider Caribbean Region (St. Lucia, May 1984) the “Caribbean Plan”.

IMO, in co-operation with UNEP, has over the years played a Lead role in helping countries in the Wider Caribbean develop national and regional plans for marine pollution preparedness and response and measures related to prevention and control of marine pollution.

The Caribbean Islands OPRC Contingency Plan, as an up-date of the “Caribbean Plan”, was adopted at a meeting convened by IMO (Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, November 1992) which contributes to the implementation of the Protocol Concerning Co-operation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean Region (Oil Spill Protocol) as well as the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC Convention) which entered into force on 13 May 1995.

Purpose and Objectives

This Plan provides a framework under which Island States and Territories may cooperate at the operational level in responding to oil spill incidents as required by Article 8 of the Protocol to the Cartagena Convention.

The objectives of the Plan are to:

    • Promote and implement regional cooperation in oil spill contingency planning, prevention, control and clean up
    • Develop appropriate measures of preparedness and systems for detecting and reporting oil spill incidents within the area covered by the Plan
    • Institute prompt measures to restrict the spread of oil
    • Identify resources to respond to oil spill incidents

In summary, the overall objective of the Plan is to provide a cooperative scheme for mutual assistance from member states, territories, and organizations in the event of a major oil spill incident, which exceeds the response capability of a national government or oil industry.

Venezuela was accorded an associate member status of the Caribbean Island OPRC Plan by the government experts at the 1992 meeting in Curaçao.

Geographic Area of the Caribbean Plan

The geographic area of the sub-regional contingency plan extends from latitude 30° N, 200 miles to the east into the Atlantic Ocean beyond the Caribbean Archipelago to the shore line of South America.

To the west, the area extends into the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico following the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Island States and Territories.

The geographic area of the Plan essentially is all the waters of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the sub-regional area of the Wider Caribbean applicable to Venezuela and the following Island States and Territories:

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Commonwealth of Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Antilles, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela.

For more information, please download the plan here.

Central American OPRC plan

The Central American OPRC Plan (CAOP) was created under the obligations of the OPRC Convention, the Cartagena Convention and the Oil Spill Protocol and the Antigua Convention.

This Plan provides a framework under which Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Guatemala) may cooperate at the operational level in responding to oil spill incidents as required by Article 8 of the Protocol to the Cartagena Convention.

The project began in 2004 within the intergovernmental Meeting Action Plan of the Agreement of Cooperation for the protection and the development sustainable environment of the Northeastern Pacific and was coordinated by ARPEL, COCATRAM and RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe.

The CAOP culminated with a workshop in Panama in April of 2005. In this Program three documents have been developed:

    • A comparative study (Wotherspoon, Solsberg. 2005. Study on Status of National Contingency Plans in Central American Countries. APREL) analyzed the National Contingency Plan similarity and differences regarding to the strategies and the approaches in Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Guatemala.
    • A ” Regional Cooperation Framework Proposal for oil spills preparation and response in Central America – a road map “(Framework for an regional agreement for Central America) based on the existing formats and on agreements found in the comparative study mentioned before.
    • Development of a guideline (Wotherspoon, Solsberg. 2005. How to develop National oil spills Contingency Plans. ARPEL). This guide identifies a methodological approach or pattern to prepare National Oil Spills Contingency Plans.

For more information, please download:

CAOP regional plan

CAOP regional plan Annex

Or click COCATRAM page here.



The Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico and the United Stated have recently developed the Multilateral Technical Operating Procedures for Offshore Oil Pollution Response (MTOP).

These non-binding procedures are intended to complement the OPRC 1990, the Cartagena Convention and the Oil Spills Protocol and the Caribbean Island OPRC Plan, to further the implementation of those instruments to respond efficiently in the event of an oil spill.

In addition they include amplifying information regarding offshore response issues and more detailed operational aspects for joint responses where participating countries’ interests could be impacted by an oil spill.

The latest version of the document can be downloaded here.

Civil Liability and Fund Conventions 

An oil spill can cause financial losses for a large number of organizations and individuals. In order to ensure that adequate compensation is available to persons affected by a spill of persistent oil from tankers, a 3-layer compensation system was developed under the auspices of the IMO. The primary layer is the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (Civil Liability Convention, CLC). First adopted in 1969, then amended in 1992, it is now commonly referred to as the CLC 92. This Convention introduces the concept of strict liability for tanker owners, which means that even in the absence of fault, the owner is accounted liable to pay for clean-up costs and pollution damage within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of an affected state. There are some exceptions (act of war, intent to cause damage by a third party, failure to maintain navigational aids) but the burden of proof lies with the owner in each case. Moreover, ships carrying more than 2,000 tonnes of oil are required to maintain insurance in respect of oil pollution damage and compensation limits set according to the tonnage of the tanker causing the pollution.

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The secondary layer is the 1971 International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, which was also amended in 1992 and is now referred to as the Fund 92. This Fund was created in order to cover the claims that exceeded the limit of liability of the tanker owners under the CLC 92. The maximum amount payable by the Fund 92, including the sum paid by the tanker owner, is US$310.9 million (rate on 1 November, 2013).

The 1992 Fund is financed by contributions levied on any person who has received in a calendar year more than 150,000 tonnes of crude oil or heavy fuel oil after sea transport in a 1992 Fund Member State. The third layer is the 2003 Supplementary Fund. States that have ratified the CLC 92, the Fund 92 and are a member of the Supplementary Fund are entitled to a total compensation amount of up to US$1,148.8 million (rate on 1 November, 2013) for an incident.

This Fund is financed in a similar way to the Fund 92 with the difference being that for the purpose of paying contributions, at least 1 million tonnes of contributing oil are deemed to have been received each year in each Member State.

In cases where the spill does not originate from a tanker or the substance spilled is not oil or persistent oil, others mechanisms exist to ensure adequate compensation. The Bunkers Convention, adopted in 2001, ensure that prompt and effective compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by spills of oil, when carried as fuel in ships’ bunkers.

The Convention requires ships over 1,000 gross tonnage to maintain insurance or other financial security to cover the liability of the registered owner for pollution damage in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the applicable national or international limitation regime, but in all cases, not exceeding an amount calculated in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, as amended.

The International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS Convention) aims to ensure adequate, prompt and effective compensation for damage that may result from shipping accidents involving hazardous and noxious substances.

The Convention is based on the two-tier system established under the CLC and Fund Conventions.  However, it goes further in that it covers not only pollution damage but also the risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life or personal injury as well as loss of or damage to property. However, the HNS Convention is not yet in force.

For more information, please click Secretariat of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1992.


The MARPOL Convention is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. It is a combination of two treaties adopted in 1973 and 1978 respectively and updated by amendments through the years.

The MARPOL Convention was adopted on 2 November 1973 at IMO. The Protocol of 1978 was adopted in response to a spate of tanker accidents in 1976-1977. As the 1973 MARPOL Convention had not yet entered into force, the 1978 MARPOL Protocol absorbed the parent Convention. The combined instrument entered into force on 2 October 1983. In 1997, a Protocol was adopted to amend the Convention and a new Annex VI was added which entered into force on 19 May 2005. MARPOL has been updated by amendments through the years.

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The Convention includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships – both accidental pollution and that from routine operations – and currently includes six technical Annexes:

    • Annex I – Prevention of Pollution by Oil
    •  Annex II – Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk
    • Annex III – Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea in Packaged Form
    • Annex IV – Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships
    • Annex V – Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships
    • Annex VI – Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships

Special area under Annex 5

In May 1, 2011 the Wider Caribbean Region became a designated Special Area under Annex V of the MARPOL Convention. This Annex prohibits the discharge of all plastics, but allows, under certain conditions, for the discharge of other types of garbage (e.g. dunnage, paper, lining, metal, etc.), unless in designated Special Areas.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), Marine Environmental Protection Committee, (MEPC), recognized the sensitivity of the Wider Caribbean Region by assessing its oceanography, undersea topography, the interconnectedness of the area’s ecosystems and the volume of shipping traffic and thereby designated it as a Special Area under Annex V in 1991.

However, due to a lack of waste reception capacity and an absence of notifications to IMO regarding adequate waste reception facilities, the status was delayed.

In March of 2010, at the IMO MEPC meeting in London, twenty-two Caribbean Parties to the MARPOL 73/78 Convention stated that adequate waste reception facilities for garbage are provided in most relevant ports within the region. Based upon that, the effective date was established as May 1st, 2011.

The Wider Caribbean Region became the 6th zone to be protected against the discharge of all garbage from ships. Other Special Areas include the Baltic Sea (effective since October 1989), the North Sea (February 1991), the Antarctic area, south of latitude 60 degrees south (March 1992), the “Gulfs” area (August 2008) and the Mediterranean Sea (May 2009).

The entry into force of the Special Area for the Black and Red Seas, which have also been designated under the Annex V, is not yet effective.

The WCR contains 28 coastal and insular Countries (or overseas territories) that have coasts on the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and part of the Atlantic Ocean. It covers an area of more than 3.3 million km2 , from the United States of America to French Guiana.

The region’s highly productive but extremely sensitive ecosystems provide a livelihood (tourism, artisanal/industrial fisheries, sea bed exploitation) for many coastal communities and more than 41 million people live within 10 km of the coastline.

Garbage in the marine environment is a significant threat, both environmental and socioeconomic. It damages habitats, kills wildlife, and directly impacts the quality of life of local communities and adversely affects the economies of the region, notably its consequences on tourism.

A study conducted by UNEP assessed that litter from ocean based sources (such as fishing nets, gear and supplies, ropes, etc.) accounted for at least 11% of all marine litter in the WCR (Marine Litter – A Global Challenge).

IMO related documents:

Port reception facilities

Meeting the obligations for adequate Port Reception Facilities as required of MARPOL signatory countries remains a significant challenge to the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Wider Caribbean Region.

Although a majority of States and Territories of the Caribbean are a party to MARPOL and have ratified or acceded to a number of Annexes (in particular Annex I, II, III and V), they are restricted in their capacities and capability to properly process waste streams generated on their islands, let alone process additional waste offloaded from vessels calling upon their port, facing a certain number of impediments to fully implement and enforce the Convention in the event of non-compliance.

In addition, taking into concern that the Wider Caribbean became a “Special Area” under MARPOL Annex V (Garbage), States and Territories were encouraged to implement and enforce these regulations.

Even though the Special Area provisions for the Caribbean Sea with more stringent controls regarding the discharge of garbage have taken effect on 1 May 2011, States and Territories are facing difficulties to provide adequate PRFs.

In 2007 and 2008, RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe, together with IMO and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) through its Caribbean Environment Program (CEP) conducted an outreach program to facilitate the implementation of MARPOL Annex V.

This effort was followed up by a series of seminars held in seven countries and hosted by the Land-based Sources of Pollution (LBS) Protocol of the Cartagena Convention, RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe, IMO, and UNEP’s Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit.

The purpose of these seminars was to offer decision-making authorities and other stakeholders information regarding the steps needed to implement the MARPOL Annex V Special Area designation for the Wider Caribbean Region, as well as to assess the status of the various countries’ waste reception facilities.

The International Maritime Organization has recognized the challenges unique to SIDs and have made provisions to accept the implementation of an approved Regional Port Reception Facility Plan, as outlined in Resolution MEPC.221(63) and described in their 2012 Guidelines for the Development of a Regional Reception Facilities Plan.

During the last regional workshop on MARPOL & Port Reception Facilities conducted in July 2013 in Florida, participants presented the status of PRFs in their respective country, identified impediments to the implementation and enforcement of MARPOL and proposed some solutions.

The idea of developing regional arrangements was suggested and it was recommended to study further this proposition which is in line with the amendments to MARPOL which entered into force on 1st August 2013 permitting regional arrangements for port reception facilities for Small Island Developing States.

Recognizing this need RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe have begun work on developing an IMO complaint Regional Port Reception Plan for the Wider Caribbean Region.

To aid all vessels with complying with this requirement, the IMO has established a database listing the location of port reception facilities in the region. It is integral within the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS).

Annex VI

Air Pollution

In 1997, a new annex was added to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships (Annex VI) seek to minimize airborne emissions from ships (SOx, NOx, ODS, VOC shipboard incineration) and their contribution to local and global ai​r pollution and environmental problems. Annex VI entered into force on 19 May 2005 and a revised Annex VI with significantly tightened emissions limits was adopted in October 2008 which entered into force on 1 July 2010.

Energy Efficiency

Mandatory measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions form international shipping were adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in July 2011, representing the first ever mandatory global GHG reduction regime for an international industry sector. These mandatory measures (EEDI/SEEMP) entered into force on 1 January 2013.

IMO has adopted important guidelines aimed at supporting implementation of the mandatory measures to increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from international shipping, paving the way for the regulations on EEDI and SEEMP to be smoothly implemented by Administrations and industry.

Regional Workshop on MARPOL ANNEX VI

This workshop, hosted by the Government of Jamaica and organized with the help of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe, was organized to provide detailed information with regard to the “MARPOL Annex VI – Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from International Shipping for the Wider Caribbean Region”.

The workshop attracted participants from the CARICOM countries, as well as from Aruba, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Cuba and Panama.

The main objective of the workshop was to raise awareness among the participating regional countries‟ stakeholders on MARPOL Annex VI in general and more specifically the recently adopted Chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI on Energy Efficiency Regulations for Ships.

The other objective of the workshop was for the participants to have a greater understanding and appreciation on the requirements and implications of implementation and enforcement of MARPOL Annex VI in order for them to be able to lead their Governments‟ efforts in strategic targeting for development of relevant legislation, tools and measurements for compliance, monitoring, and enforcement by both Port State and Flag State Controls.

The workshop covered the following main topics over three days:

    • The International Regulatory Framework for Preventing Pollution from Ships
    •  MARPOL Annex VI – Prevention of air pollution from ships including Chapters 1 to 3.
    • Overview of the GHG issue and the role of international shipping
    • MARPOL Annex VI, Chapter 4 – Regulations for Ship Energy Efficiency
    • Host country presentation on MARPOL Annex VI and GHG emissions
    • Emissions Control Areas (ECA) for NOx, SOx and PM control
    • Alternative fuels and SOx scrubbers
    • On Shore power supply and green port initiatives
    • Guidelines supporting Chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI on EEDI
    • Guidelines supporting Chapter 4 of MARPOL Annex VI on SEEMP
    • Further measures to enhance the energy efficiency of ships
    • Energy efficient ship design and technical energy efficiency measures
    • Energy efficient ship operation and operational energy efficiency measures
    • Implementation and enforcement of MARPOL Annex VI
    • MARPOL Annex VI – potential impact on marine GHG emissions and fuel consumption
    • MARPOL Annex VI – future capacity building activities

As such, the workshop provided the participants with relevant information for a better understanding of IMO working practices, MARPOL Annex VI and ship Energy Efficiency including EEDI (Energy Efficiency Design Index), SEEMP (Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan), EEOI (Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator) and wider aspects of GHG emissions. Also, the workshop provided information on the tasks needed for enforcement in relation to newly adopted regulations including Flag State aspects and Port State Control as well as the future likely impacts of these regulations. The issue of Technical Cooperation and IMO activities in this regard were also covered.

The training workshop was conducted very interactively. Participants consisted of both Governmental maritime and ministerial sectors from a large number of the Wider Caribbean small regional countries.

They expressed significant interest on the subject and actively took part in the workshop deliberations. They demonstrated their willingness in understanding the details of regulations, importance of reducing all air emissions and implementation aspects of MARPOL Annex VI in particular on how to mitigate the impact of shipping on climate change.

For more information, please download the report here.


IMO, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed an agreement to allocate US$2.0 million to a two-year global maritime energy efficiency partnership project, which aims to support increased uptake and implementation of energy-efficiency measures for shipping.

The so-called GloMEEP project, formally designated “Transforming the Global Maritime Transport Industry towards a Low Carbon Future through Improved Energy Efficiency”, will focus in particular on building capacity to implement technical and operational measures in developing countries, where shipping is increasingly concentrated.

The aim is to promote a low-carbon maritime sector, in order to minimize the adverse impacts of shipping emissions on climate change, ocean acidification and local air quality.

From the Wider Caribbean Region, Panama and Jamaica will be part of the project as lead pilot countries together with Argentina, China, Georgia, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines and South Africa.

For more information, please click here.

Anti-fouling systems Convention

In order to keep ships’ hulls clear of marine growth to ensure maximum performance and to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens, the industry uses anti-fouling systems to minimize the build-up of marine life on hulls surface. In the past, many of the coatings used in such systems were themselves harmful to the marine environment and more benign coatings needed to be developed to replace them.

Recognizing the importance of protection of the marine environment and human health from adverse effects of anti-fouling systems the IMO adopted the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships, which entered into force in September 2008. The Convention prohibits the use of harmful organotins in antifouling marine paints and establishes a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems.

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RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe, together with IMO, has organized several Regional and National capacity building activities to provide information on the AFS Convention, and to increase the ratification rate of the instrument by Caribbean Countries.

Ballast Water Management Convention 

Ships need to carry ballast to maintain their balance, stability and ensure structural integrity (basically, to operate securely and safely), especially while unladen or partially laden. As shipping efficiency improved and technology became available, solid ballast was gradually replaced by ballast water to ensure these functions. It is now estimated that about 3 to 5 billion tonnes of ballast water are transferred internationally every year. Although this change has been facilitating international trade, it has also assisted in ‘jumping’ natural barriers, helping aquatic species to be introduced, disperse and sometimes establish themselves in environments they were not supposed to reach. Indeed, at every moment, it is estimated that 7,000 different species are being transported in ships along with ballast water.

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The issue of aquatic invasive species, including the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens (HAOP) in ships’ ballast water and sediments, has been identified by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as one of the greatest threats to global marine bio-diversity and ecosystems (along with land-based sources of pollution, habitat loss and overfishing), and is also a significant threat to coastal economies and even public health.

Global economic impacts from invasive alien species, including disruption to fisheries, fouling of coastal industry and infrastructure and interference with human amenities, are estimated to exceed tens of billions of dollars per year. The impacts are set to increase in coming years: indeed, unlike oil spills, there is certain latency before noticing the presence and effects of an invasive alien species.

Additionally, this type of ‘pollution’ is almost irreversible: once they have become established in a new environment, it is virtually impossible to control or eradicate invasive marine species.

In response to the aquatic threat, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the maritime industry have been working on the issue of ships’ ballast water introduction for more than twenty years, initially developing voluntary guidelines and then developing a legally binding international regime to meet the new challenges posed by the problem.

In February 2004, these global efforts culminated with the adoption of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention).

The Convention sets out strict treatment standards for ballast water discharges, which, when in force, will apply to different ships at different times depending on their construction date and their tanks’ ballast water capacity.

Additionally, the Convention provides guidance for the type approval of ballast water treatment systems and identifies detailed procedures to ensure that the environmental toxicity of ballast water is evaluated and minimized, resulting in safe discharges of treated ballast water. This is especially important when systems use chemical treatment methods.

GloBallast Partnerships programme in the WCR

RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe is the Regional Coordinating Organization in the Wider Caribbean Region for the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast Partnerships Programme that aims to help developing countries to establish ballast water management policies in order to decrease the risk of marine bio-invasions.

Following the success of the original ‘Global Ballast Water Management’ Project, IMO is currently executing the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast Partnerships Programme (2008-2016) to sustain the global momentum in tackling the ballast water problem and to catalyse innovative global partnerships to develop solutions.

 The full title of this project is Building Partnerships to Assist Developing Countries to Reduce the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water. It is more simply referred to as GloBallast Partnerships (GBP).

GBP’s main aim is to assist developing countries to reduce the risk of aquatic bio-invasions mediated by ships’ ballast water and sediments. With the help of tools developed and lessons learned from the pilot project, GBP is working to:

    • expand government and port management capacities;
    • instigate legal, policy and institutional reforms at national level;
    • develop mechanisms for sustainability; and
    • drive regional coordination and co-operation.

The Project also aims to spur global efforts to develop technology solutions, and enhance global knowledge management and information exchange to support marine biosecurity initiatives.

The Project assists 15 Lead Partnering Countries (LPC) from 5 high priority sub-regions, namely Caribbean, Mediterranean, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the Pacific coast of South America, and the West Coast of Africa.

Caribbean Lead Partnering Countries:

    • Bahamas
    • Jamaica
    • Panama
    • Trinidad & Tobago
    • Venezuela

Twinning Partners:

    • Dominica
    • Nicaragua
    • Honduras
    • Saint Lucia

For more information, please check the GloBallast Project here.

Regional strategy

Strengthening national and regional capacity and fostering regional co-operation for the effective implementation of the BWM Convention is critical for successfully managing the issue of HAOP.

A set of such measures in the form of a regional Strategic Action Plan (SAP) was developed by RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe in 2012, and approved during the twelfth meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (COP13).

The overall objectives of the regional SAP are:

    • To provide a regional framework for the activities that need to be developed and implemented within the WCR in order to mitigate, minimize and eventually eliminate the transfer of HAOP in ships’ ballast water, in accordance with the BWM Convention and relevant programmes such as the GEF/UNDP/IMO GloBallast Partnerships project (GBP);
    • To enhance regional cooperation and capacity in BWM matters towards the protection and conservation of the marine environment in the WCR using the existing regional bodies; and,
    • Encourage the accession to the BWM Convention by IMO Member States and facilitate the harmonized implementation of effective ballast water management strategies and policies within the Region.

For more information, please download the SAP here.