The SafeMed II Project

Harmonising enforcement of maritime standards across North Africa and the Mediterranean.

The adage ‘a chain is as strong as its weakest link’ is well applied to the need for harmonised maritime standards across a region as diverse as the Mediterranean. As one of the world’s major shipping areas, the Mediterranean Sea comprises some 450 ports and terminals, handling more than 300,000 port calls per annum. Progress towards improved enforcement of maritime standards for safety and security must therefore be achieved on a regional level, through coordinated efforts.
The SafeMed Project is the European Union (EU)’s response to this regional challenge, set up in 2006 with the aim of promoting the coherent, effective and uniform implementation of the international maritime conventions across the Mediterranean Region.

Now in its second phase, the €5.8 million SafeMed II Project (2008-2012), known in full as the EuroMed Cooperation on Maritime Safety and Prevention of Pollution from Ships, provides 15 Beneficiary States with assistance towards improving maritime safety, security, and prevention of pollution from ships. These Beneficiaries are: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria , Tunisia, and Turkey.

Implemented in the Mediterranean by the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) on behalf of the International Maritime organization (IMO), the SafeMed Project also seeks to enhance Euro-Mediterranean co-operation by providing the conditions for open communication and constructive debate between all Mediterranean coastal States.

“The SafeMed project is offering North African States many opportunities to strengthen their maritime administrations, be it through training, field missions or providing some tools for better checking the conformity with the recognised international standards of ships calling at their ports. This brings improved safety and security, and ultimately has beneficial economic effects,” said Mr Frederic Hebert, Director REMPEC.

“Maritime trade patterns in North Africa are mostly between the SafeMed Beneficiaries and European Union countries which uphold increasingly stringent standards in terms of maritime safety and protection of the marine environment. As most of these standards apply to non-EU vessels calling in EU ports, by assisting North African coastal States meet these standards, the Project promotes the enforcement of a safe and environment-friendly regulatory framework for maritime trade.”

Reducing pollution in the Med

The Mediterranean Sea which is almost entirely enclosed, accounts for 10% of global shipping activity in terms of deadweight terms and 18 % of global seaborne crude oil shipments . As a result, the problem of marine pollution from ships is an acute one. The SafeMed Project strives to reduce pollution from ships by encouraging and organising concerted efforts among Euro-Mediterranean and North African coastal States. In this regard, MedRules was developed within the framework of the Project. This decision-support tool assists Port State Control Officers of the Med MoU on PSC to determine more efficiently which versions of international maritime Conventions and regulations are applicable to inspected ships. Thus, MedRules is a concrete measure aimed at enhancing maritime safety and security, and reducing marine pollution in the region.

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Article courtesy of The North Africa Post.

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