MERMAID Conclusions

Urban ports face daily difficulties due to a variety of environmental impacts generated by ships in port.

The port plays a crucial role between the ships operators and the local community, be it official stakeholders, environmental associations or individual most sensitive citizens.

In such a situation, the port needs to increase awareness of nuisance situations and react preventively before citizens complain. An environmental monitoring system (EMS), whether real time or through year-round sampling, allows both the awareness and the reactivity: it works!

The prerequisites for deployment of an EMS are:

  • the need for it, depending on the port/city configuration;
  • the willingness of port authority to deal with the issues;
  • the capacity of port/city governance to exchange and communicate around a sustainable development of the port activity;
  • a culture of transparency and democracy.

Solutions exist to deal, with or without an EMS, with environmental impact generated in the port:

  • a scientific basis with existing sensors, data processing and analysis;
  • engineering solutions on board or in port, like sea-scrubbers or noise reduction equipments, LNG alternative or shore power plugging;
  • regulations are possible through IMO or EC, like SECA areas;
  • bodies of specialists from flag state or port state authorities for enforcement.

It may take another 10 or 20 years to fully deploy the appropriate measures, but at the end of the MERMAID investigation of best practices, we believe that the MED program should keep an interest in this continued deployment in ports of environmental best practices so that each individual port may progress towards city/port acceptability and sustainability.

New challenges for the future have emerged:

  • Improve and develop EMS

Investigate in new sensors (smart and less costly), develop smart tools and real time alert, develop integrated approach between all the sensors with new software and develop operational, pragmatic actions as well as long-term action plan.

  • Investigate other fields of impacts

such as the traffic generated by the port and its interactions in the city, the energy consumption of the port and its interactions with the territory consumption…

  • Strengthen  and develop new channels of communication between all the stakeholders (ship, port, neighbours, local community and authorities) for more transparency
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