United Nations
#OceanAction15614
Designation and enhancement of implementation of the Baltic Sea as NOx Emission Control Area for ships and public-private partnership
by Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) (Intergovernmental organization)
HELCOM countries have committed to cutting 80% of NOx emissions from ships operating in the Baltic Sea in order to combat the problem of eutrophication in the region. HELCOM together with its partners will promote the green shipping technology and use of alternative fuels to further reduce harmful exhaust gas emissions and greenhouse gases from ships.

The International Maritime Organization approved the Baltic Sea NOx Emission Control Area (NECA) proposal by the HELCOM countries in 2016 with an effective date of 1 January 2021. The North Sea NECA has been agreed in parallel. The final IMO agreement on the adoption of the two NECAs is expected in July 2017.

Eutrophication, caused by excessive inputs of nutrients, is a serious environmental concern and a priority for action by the Baltic Sea countries working in HELCOM. The measure will result in reduction of 22,000 tons of annual total nitrogen deposition to the whole region, as a combined effect of the Baltic and North Seas NECAs. Out of this, 7,000 tons is estimated to be reduced directly to the sea surface.

The NECA regulations target new ships built on or after 2021 and do not address existing ships. A two-decade long period of fleet renewal is needed before the regulation will show the full effect. Parallel work to promote the green shipping technology and use of alternative fuels, as means of compliance with NECA, will be undertaken by HELCOM and in the region to facilitate emission reductions ahead of the regulatory schedule.
A regional public-private partnership on green technology and alternative fuels for shipping called HELCOM GREEN TEAM has been established for this purpose. The NECA regulation brings a new momentum and a demand to intensify the public-private partnership. The new work plan of the partnership, adopted in 2017, aims to promote public and private co-operation at national and Baltic Sea levels to enhance development and uptake of green technology and alternative fuels in shipping, including LNG. The work will be undertaken jointly by HELCOM countries in co-operation with other regional governmental and non-governmental organizations, the industry and research community.
Progress reports
14.1
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
NUTRIENTS
  • Other (please specify): Reduction of NOx emissions from ships
SHIPPING
  • Management of ship-based pollution and/or port waste management
Quantification
  • Reduction of 22,000 tons of annual total nitrogen deposition to the Baltic Sea region, as a combined effect of the Baltic and North Seas NECAs. Out of this, 7,000 tons is estimated to be reduced directly to the Baltic sea surface.
14.c
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): Designation of the Baltic Sea as a NOx Emission Control Area under MARPOL Annex VI
1 January 2021
A requirement for new ships operating in the Baltic Sea to meet the Tier III emission standards of MARPOL Annex VI (pending adoption by IMO MEPC 71)
February 2017
Establishment of HELCOM Maritime sub-group on green ship technology and alternative fuels (GREEN TEAM), development of public-private co-operation and consideration of effective incentives to accelerate green investments.
July 2016
A proposal by the HELCOM countries to IMO to designate the Baltic Sea as a NOX Emission Control Area (document IMO MEPC 70/5/1)
Staff / Technical expertise
expert input by the Baltic Sea countries and industry and other stakeholders to follow-up NECA and to the public-private platform HELCOM GREEN TEAM and implementation of its work plan
Basic information
Time-frame: 1 January 2021 - no end date
Partners
Denmark, Estonia, European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden. HELCOM Observers active in HELCOM MARITIME group are invited as partners to this voluntary commitment
Ocean Basins
  • North Atlantic
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Monika Stankiewicz, HELCOM Executive Secretary, monika.stankiewicz@helcom.fi, 00358408402471
Helsinki, Finland
Other SDGs
United Nations