Towards sustainable shipping – Civil society in dialogue with policy makers and shipping industry

European ship owners own 40% of the world fleet and Greece is the European Union’s largest ship owning Member State. Several European policies target the environmental performance of shipping. This event will create a forum to discuss environmentally sound practices related to emissions, marine pollution and ship recycling as well as recent policy and legislative developments at the EU level.

We will focus on the role ship owners need to play to ensure the sustainable operation and management of their fleet, and the policies the EU, and Greece in particular, need to implement to not only hold ship owners accountable for substandard practices, but to also reward responsible ship owners. European NGOs working on sustainable shipping, European and Greek policy makers and industry representatives will share their views on future challenges and opportunities for Europe’s maritime industry.
  • Moderated by: Dionosis VITHOULKAS, journalist at TO VIMA
  • Language: Greek/English translation will be provided
Supported by: European Parliament Information Office in Greece


European Parliament Information Office in Greece,

8 Leof Amalias - 105 57 Athens


By 26 May at the latest: click to register


11:00    Registration and refreshments
11:30    Opening - welcome reception

  • Welcome remarks:
    Head of the European Parliament Office in Greece,
  • Opening notes:
    Alternate Environment Minister, Yannis TSIRONIS
    Alternate Shipping Minister, Theodoros DRITSAS (tbc)
    Chairman of the Special Permanent Committee on Environmental Protection of the Hellenic Parliament, Iro DIOTI

  12:00    Issues at stake

  • Emissions: Sotiris RAPTIS, Transport & Environment
    Shipping emissions have increased by approximately 70% since 1990 and under current policies, shipping CO2 emissions are likely to further increase by 50% to 250% by 2050, representing 6% to 14% of total global emissions. While other sectors have started declining or are looking to peak their emissions in 2020, none of the “business as usual” scenarios for shipping foresee a decline in shipping emissions before 2050. Shipping is still the only transport sector and one of the very few in the EU economy not contributing to EU emissions reductions. The EU has promised measures for shipping emissions three times since 2009 – will the newly adopted EU MRV system provide necessary solutions? Is a 2030 reduction target realistic?
  • Recycling: Patrizia HEIDEGGER, NGO Shipbreaking Platform
    At the end of a ship’s operational life it is dismantled to recover valuable steel. Problems however arise when end-of-life vessels are broken down manually by untrained and unprotected workers on tidal beaches. Dangerous working conditions lead to severe accidents and on a beach it is impossible to contain pollutants. Greek ship owners top the list of global dumpers that sell their end-of-life ships to substandard yards in South Asia for dangerous and polluting dismantling. A new European regulation aims to reverse this trend – will it be successful or are additional incentives necessary? And what can ship owners already do today to ensure sustainable end-of-life management?
  • Liability: Antidia CITORES, Surfrider Foundation
    Numerous maritime disasters and their dramatic impact on the marine environment have brought reaction from public opinion and the judiciary. In 2012 and for the first time, ecological damage was recognized by the French courts in the 'Erika' case. This decision marks a turning point in environmental law. It reinforces the polluter pays principle and lays the foundations for environmental liability, as established by European law. Still, ecological disasters continue to occur as evidenced by recent catastrophes in the Sundarbans (2014) and in the Canary Islands (2015). How can the legal basis in order to recognize environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage from maritime transport and offshore activities be strengthened?
  • Marine pollution: Angele LAZOU DEAN, Greenpeace Greece
    With over 90% of all trade between countries being carried by ships, and with 200.000 vessels plying their trade annually in the Mediterranean alone, the shipping industry is a major contributor to the oceans' pollution: accidental spills and operational discharges, dumbing garbage and sewage, shipbreaking and carbon emissions are just some of the impacts with which they threaten the health of our seas. Are international conventions implemented in the most effective way? And how will the end of poor shipping practices along with the creation of marine reserves bring back the life to our oceans?
  • The role of Greek shipping: Nikos CHRYSOGELOS, Representative of MedSOS and former member of the European Parliament
    Greece, as leading EU maritime nation, can play a significant role in the reduction of air emissions, the adoption environmentally sound ship recycling, the use of renewable energy technology on ships and energy-efficiency upgrading of existing vessels. At the same time, special emphasis should be given in the revitalization of the shipbuilding and ship repair sector through a “green ship” and “green shipping” strategy.

13:15    Coffee/tea break
13:30    Reactions & panel discussion
             Short interventions by:

  • Alternate Environment Minister, Yannis TSIRONIS
  • Alternate Shipping Minister, Theodoros DRITSAS (tbc)
  • Member of the European Parliament, José Inácio FARIA
  • Member of the European Parliament, Stelios KOULOGLOU
  • Representative of HELMEPA (tbc)
  • Representative of Blue Planet Shipping Ltd.

            Followed by a panel debate with the speakers and NGO representatives.

14:45    The Clean Shipping Index: a tool for the promotion of sustainable
             shipping, Sara SKÖLD, Clean Shipping Network

14:55    Concluding remarks


With the support of:


Organised by:


Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 11:00 to 15:00