Maritime transport remains the backbone of the international trading system today, moving about 80 percent of world cargo by volume, said Minister of Transport and Infocommunications in a message in conjunction with World Maritime Day 2023, adding that it is the most secure, safest and relatively energy-efficient means of transporting goods and people.
International shipping plays an integral part in the worldwide logistics network and serves as a crucial component of many industries’ supply chains, ensuring the seamless flow of cargo and commodities across international borders.
However, the potential impact of pollution stemming from maritime activities can be far-reaching and multi-faceted – from oil spills that devastate marine ecosystems to emissions that contribute to air quality deterioration and climate change.
“This year’s World Maritime Day holds immense importance in recognising the pivotal role that maritime activities play in our global economy and sustainable development,” said Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Shamhary bin Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Mustapha.
The theme ‘MARPOL AT 50 – Our Commitment Goes On’, serves as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the most significant global legal instrument for the prevention of pollution from ships.
It resonates with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) long history of safeguarding the environment against the repercussions of maritime activities caused by ships’ operational or accidental interventions through a robust set of requirements and standards.
The MARPOL Convention (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) remains an indispensable instrument in a world where maritime pollution incidents have served as a potent catalyst for change.
Reflecting on the past five decades, the chairman of Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam (MPABD) acknowledged the tremendous progress made collectively amongst all relevant stakeholders, including the international shipping and maritime community in reducing maritime pollution and fostering a culture of environmentally sustainable shipping industry.
“Such steadfast commitment also heeds the call of the United Nations towards forging a pathway to sustainability for the betterment of present and future generations as stipulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.
While acknowledging sustainable maritime transportation is a crosscutting issue and, as such, it forms an important enabler for most of the 17 associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among others ensuring accessible and clean energy (SDG 7), promoting industry, innovation, and robust infrastructure (SDG 9), advancing climate action and the responsible utilisation of oceans, seas, and marine resources (SDGs 13 and 14), while also acknowledging the importance of partnerships and effective implementation in achieving these objectives (SDG 17).
“Brunei Darussalam, reiterates its support for the realisation of SDG14 which is an integral part of the IMO work that is aimed at ensuring safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans,” said the minister.
He added: “For over three decades, Brunei Darussalam’s commitment to upholding MARPOL’s principles has been evident through its accession to various MARPOL Annexes. Think of MARPOL as a set of rules that ships must follow to keep our seas clean and safe.”
These guidelines cover different aspects, such as preventing oil pollution, controlling the discharge of harmful liquids, handling dangerous substances in packages and preventing ships from polluting the sea with garbage.
MARPOL also takes a stand against plastic waste in our oceans and regulates the proper disposal of sewage by ships at sea. These regulations are crucial in preserving the cleanliness and health of our oceans, ensuring they remain pristine and pleasant environments for all.
In line with the ongoing initiatives, the minister said, Brunei Darussalam continues to consider these regulations, aligning with SDG 14; to ensure safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans, which promotes a more environmentally conscious and sustainable future for the industry.
“It is imperative to recognise that our responsibilities extend beyond individual actions as there are also shared obligations to protect the health of our planet and the well-being of future generations,” said YB Pg Dato Shamhary.
As the challenges posed by maritime pollution continue, the country’s journey towards a more ecologically sound maritime sector remains an ongoing endeavor as we look ahead into the next 50 years.
“On this World Maritime Day, let us together ensure that our commitment to MARPOL goes beyond words and translates into impactful actions that shape a cleaner and greener maritime industry for generations to come.
It is our aspiration for Brunei Darussalam to embrace a vision where the seas remain a sustainable source of life, inspiration, and sustenance for all,” he concluded.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN