Mediterranean Network of Law Enforcement Officials

28 April 2021

The Fourth Meeting of the Mediterranean Network of Law Enforcement Officials relating to MARPOL within the framework of the Barcelona Convention (MENELAS) was held online on 21-22 April 2021.

The meeting was attended by Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention; EMSA; HELCOM; IOPC Funds; Interpol; Chair of the North Sea Network of Investigators and Prosecutors (NSN); Bonn Agreement/OSPAR; RAMOGE Agreement and UNEP/MAP.

The meeting discussed the use of common marine oil pollution detection/investigation reports within the Barcelona Convention and MENELAS, based on the observation/detection log and the report on polluters already used by the Bonn Agreement and HELCOM. Amendments to these reports could be requested in the future for harmonisation between regional agreements. It was recommended that the standard forms were used in a forthcoming coordinated aerial surveillance operation for illicit ship pollution discharges in the Mediterranean organised by the Secretariat of the RAMOGE Agreement, to which Contracting Parties to the Bonn Agreement and/or HELCOM would be invited.

The meeting discussed a decision was presented on common minimum level of administrative fines for all MARPOL Annexes based on HELCOM Recommendation 19/14 and the establishment of a MENELAS database on illicit ship pollution discharges in the Mediterranean in liaison with NSN and EU/EMSA. The latter will consider the NSN database and its possible trends; as well as the template developed for reporting under the Ship Source Pollution Directive.

The Chair of NSN introduced the activities of the North Sea Network of Investigators and Prosecutors and referred to the MARPOL Annex VI enforcement cases presented and discussed within the Network. The Bonn Agreement/OSPAR Secretariat presented the outcome of the MARPOL Annex VI Experts Workshop held in February 2021. MENELAS will liaise with NSN and OTSOPA to share experience and best practices on MARPOL Annex VI monitoring and enforcement activities.

HELCOM presented the latest activities and the IOPC Funds reported some cases of interest including the Bow Jubail case in the North Sea.

A presentation from the General Secretariat of the International Criminal Police Organization-INTERPOL- was given on the key findings of Operation 30 Days at Sea 2.0 performed in 2019. One of the targets addressed was related to pollution from vessels and offshore installations including MARPOL violations, oil spills, oil blending, shipbreaking, and discharges of pollutants from offshore installations.

The meeting concluded that regular exchange of information between MENELAS and the relevant regional and international organisations was key to progress on the enforcement of MARPOL violations. In this regard, the MENELAS Secretariat will participate in the NSN 2021 meeting.