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Tighter Penalties For Marine Pollution

Plastic marine litter, loss of containers, oil spills, and plastic pellets from ships will now have heavier penalties. Socialist MEP Sara Cerdas is a negotiator for the S&D on the revision of the directive that provides for changes to the rules on pollution caused by ships, which was approved today in plenary with a large majority of votes.

“Illegal discharges of oil and other pollutants, such as pellets, are a threat to European seas. Very recently we witnessed a catastrophe, with the dumping of plastic pellets and the consequent contamination of the Galician coast, which caused yet another environmental crisis with serious repercussions on the ecosystem. On the sidelines of this event, the need to review these pollution crimes has become emerging: we need heavier penalties for those who pollute and do not comply with the rules, tighter inspection, improved surveillance, and preventive measures to avoid future environmental disasters,” points out Sara Cerdas.

The legislative proposal updates Directive 2005/35/EC on ship-source pollution by introducing criminal penalties for pollution offences. In addition to broadening the scope to cover a wider variety of polluting substances, including pellets, it also optimises the European satellite surveillance and control system by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). This revision also provides for changes to ensure clarity and consistency with international rules and procedures, in particular those of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), and introduces greater flexibility for Member States in the verification and reporting of pollution incidents, avoiding the imposition of excessive administrative burdens.

Samantha Gannon

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