ECONOMY

Onshore sources responsible for more sea pollution than ships

Onshore installations were at fault for the biggest part of sea pollution in 2005, according to data by the Maritime Environment Protection Department, accounting for 52.4 percent of incidents, against 47.6 percent that were caused by ships. In terms of types of pollutants, 77 instances, or 47.83 percent, involved sludge, 55 instances (34.16 percent) involved solid waste, and 28 instances (18.01 percent) oil by-products. Port authorities last year imposed fines totaling 872,286 euros, concerning 130 violations confirmed in onshore installations and other sources and 119 in ships. Coast guard sources said, «Out of the fines imposed, 750,892 euros was for pollution created by ships and installations and the lack of preventative measures to protect the sea environment, 119,043 euros was for deficiencies in ships spotted during inspections, and 2,350 euros was for the lack of pollution prevention certificates during checks.» The Merchant Marine Ministry has drawn up a plan for sea protection including the increase in patrols on and off shore, checks and inspections, as well as punishment measures imposing fines on violators. The ministry argues that «quality shipping does not only only mean safe ships, modern ports and high standards of services, but also measures to protect the maritime environment.» In this context, the ministry has applied a system of cooperation with local and prefectural authorities, exchanging data so that in case of pollution the source can be quickly traced, consequences are rapidly managed and penalties are imposed on those responsible.