BSC

The Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution

Permanent Secretariat

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Terms of Reference, Advisory Group on Environmental and Safety Aspects of Shipping (ESAS)

BSC 10.14c

TERMS OF REFERENCE

OF THE ADVISORY GROUP ON ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY ASPECTS OF SHIPPING

(AG ESAS)

 

The Advisory Group on the Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping "coordinates the regional approach to emergency response, particularly the international response to accidents involving the extraction, maritime transport, handling and storage of oil and, where relevant hazardous chemicals" (Annex I, BS SAP, 1996).

Legal Status and Institutional Structure.

The Advisory Group on Environmental Aspects of Shipping (AG ESAS) is an integral part of the Black Sea Commission institutional structure and constitutes its subsidiary body:

a)  The AG ESAS is comprised of the national focal points nominated by the member of the Black Sea Commission and is responsible for facilitation of links between the Black Sea Commission, the relevant national authorities and regional and national scientific expertise; the national focal points are responsible for the accurate and timely delivered national information on the environmental safety aspects of shipping as it deems necessary for the Black Sea Commission;

b)  The Advisory Group on Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping is supported by Activity Center on Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping (ERAC) in Varna, Bulgaria , which coordinates the necessary programmatic support and provisions of practical technical support for its work. The Activity Center is based upon the one created through BSEP as in-kind contribution by the Government of Bulgaria with additional finance from donors where possible and necessary. The members of the Advisory Group shall elect its chairperson among themselves for two years.

c)  Following the Rules of Procedure of the BSC the AG ESAS may propose that any individual able to provide expertise related to environmental safety aspects of shipping and assist in producing the recommendations required by the Black Sea Commission as well as assist the training activities within the work program of the Group will be invited to the events within the working plan of the Group.

Main responsibilities

The AG ESAS acts in advisory, coordinating, and information capacities for the regional purposes of the Black Sea Commission by:

1.   drafting recommendations and policies for the Black Sea Commission for the followings:

a)  formulating the regional policies and proposing actions for environmental safety aspects of shipping

b)  strengthening of the relationships between Ministers of Transport and Environment, relevant institutions and governmental bodies and international organizations (such as IMO, WMO, IOC) and the private sector (shipping, oil and gas industries), etc.

c)  assisting the Contracting Parties in implementing regionally relevant provisions of the MARPOL Convention,

d)  contingency planning and emergency response to the marine pollution incidents , including the Black Sea Regional Contingency Plan,

e)  improvement of appropriate port reception facilities,

f)   cooperation with other organizations and agreements

g)  taking measures to prevent the illegal discharges of wastes from ships

h)  management of dredged spoils

3.   acting as a regional consulting body for regionally important activities related to environmental safety aspects of shipping for the Black Sea countries in close collaboration with IMO and national environmental and shipping authorities

4.   coordinating the regional training exercises in emergency response preparedness and response activities and other trainings on environmental safety aspects of shipping as it deems necessary.

5.   drafting proposals and attracting the international financial assistance for solving regionally important environmental problems resulted from shipping related activities and operation of offshore installations

6.   coordinating and maintaining the regional database on the environmental safety aspects of shipping as an integral part of the Black Sea Information System

 

Main tasks

Specifically, the Advisory Group on Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping is responsible for preparation the recommendations and documents to be considered by the Black Sea Commission and the regional coordination of following tasks:

1.   preparation and revision on the Protocol on the Movement of the Hazardous Wastes;

2.   Regional activities related to the reduction of the vessel source pollution, including:

a)  implementation of a strategy for equipping the major Black Sea ports with adequate waste reception facilities and appropriate port waste management plans;

b)  control and reduction of the operational pollution caused by vessels, including illegal waste disposal, by implementation of oil identification system and related database, implementation of a harmonized system of enforcement, including fines;

c)  control and prevention the invasion of exotic species through deballasting of vessels;

d)  implementation of measures to combat illegal dumping of solid wastes from ships and vessels;

7.   compiling the information on a harmonized system of enforcement, including fines for the Black Sea region;

8.   assessment and monitoring of the pollution caused by shipping, harbour and other related activities.

9.   development and establishment of a Black Sea Oil Identification System with a related database to identify and reduce illegal discharges by vessels and offshore installations;

10.     assistance with identification of the marine sensitive areas for migratory fish species routes and mapping of spawning grounds;

11.     preparation, adoption and further revisions of the Regional Black Sea Contingency Plan;

12.     use of satellite and radio remote sensing for monitoring of the shipping traffic and marine pollution incidents

13.     implementation of computer modeling of the operational and accidental marine pollution.

Interaction within the Black Sea Commission Institutional Structure

1.   The AG ESAS is directly subordinated to and supported by the Black Sea Commission and its Permanent Secretariat and shall report to the Black Sea Commission on annual basis. The general coordination for the AG ESAS is assigned by the Commission to the appropriate officer of its Permanent Secretariat and supported by the Coordinator of the Activity Center on Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping in Varna, Bulgaria .

2.   The AG ESAS shall closely cooperate with the other advisory groups of the Black Sea Commission in order to propose the coherent and cost effective measures for the protection and rehabilitation of the Black Sea ecosystem, namely:

a)  closely cooperate with AG PMA in revising the Protocol on Dumping and developing the guidelines for management of dredged spoils;

b)  collaborate with AG FOMLR and AG CBD for establishing the sensitive areas and their mapping in particular referring to the migratory routes of transboundary fish species;

c)  exchange information and techniques for assessing discharges from off-shore installations and ports with AG LBS;

d)  respective institutions in the region and joint groups that may be set up from time-to-time, particularly on such issues as emergency response, shipping pollution assessment, environmental impact assessment, etc.

Interaction wit other conventions and stakeholders

In order to achieve tangible results and benefit from the international experience the AG ESAS when authorized by the Black Sea Commission and on its behalf shall seek:

1.   twining projects with UN and European conventions, MARPOL, EIA, OSPAR, HELCOM, etc.

2.   seek the coherence and coordinate overlapping activities with international research programs and projects and bodies such as IAEA`s Marine Environmental Laboratory, IOC`s Expert Groups, UNEP, WHO and WMO, etc., GOOS, EEA.

3.   cooperate and directly involve the private sector like oil, gas, shipping companies in order to promote necessary investments in port facilities and other relevant activities;

4.   best use of expertise and institutional capacity within the region and, within its work plan approved on an annual basis by the Commission, cooperate on specific tasks with any institution or expert that it considers appropriate.

5.   collaborate with National Monitoring Networks and research institutions in all Black Sea countries in order to achieve sustainability and continuity of the implementation of BSSAP

6.  involve general public, NGOs communities, local organizations in particular for combating illegal discharges and waste disposals.

Reporting requirements:

In order to facilitate the Black Sea Commission work and to lessen the burden of the national reporting to the Bucharest Convention the AG ESAS shall develop and implement a comprehensive reporting system on the environmental safety aspects of shipping, namely:

1.   elaborate and regular update questionnaire on the environmental safety aspects of shipping relevant to the implementation of the black Sea Strategic Action Plan and impact of shipping activities on the marine environment,

2.   prepare and submit its work plan to the Permanent Secretariat two months prior the annual Black Sea Commission meetings for its approval and incorporation in the Black Sea Commission Work Plan,

3.   compile the annual report on current status of environmental safety aspects of shipping in a format approved by the Commission two months prior the regular Commission meeting,

4.   in cooperation with other advisory groups and the Permanent Secretariat prepare and submit a chapter "Environmental Safety Aspects of Shipping in the Black Sea" to the State of the Environment of the Black Sea Report every five years two months prior the Meeting of the Environmental Ministers,

5.   The AG ESAS shall convene a meeting at least once a year but no later than two months prior the Commission Meeting. More meetings could be called upon availability of funds and urgency of the issue under discussion. The Minutes of each AG ESAS meeting should be delivered to the Permanent Secretariat no later than 10 days after meeting.

TORs Revision:

The AG ESAS shall review the Terms of References, make necessary changes, as it deems necessary and submit it to the Secretariat two months prior the Commission meeting.