Download9 Other Human Uses and Impacts


Several measures addressing impacts from shipping have been introduced recently and their effectiveness is not yet clear. Air emissions have increased with growing ship traffic. Illegal discharges of oil and wastes, including litter and sewage, continue.

OSPAR Contracting Parties should cooperate

  • to monitor and assess the development of shipping, the effectiveness of measures and the impacts on the OSPAR Regions;
  • within IMO on reducing air pollution from ships as a priority, and should ratify, implement and enforce existing instruments while applying the ‘clean ship’ approach;
  • with the IMO, the Bonn Agreement and regional organisations on the prevention of oil spills and on risk response, including for the Arctic.

The North-East Atlantic has some of the world’s busiest shipping routes. The OSPAR area handles 90% of EU external trade and around 35% of trade between EU countries. There is also a huge amount of through-traffic. Ship traffic in Regions II and IV has been increasing over the past 20 years as trade has grown and alternatives to road transport have been promoted Figure 9.1. This includes increases in the number of ships, the cargo carried and the size of ships. Transport by sea is considered more environmentally friendly than transport by air or road, but shipping has clear impacts on the marine environment.

Figure 9.1 Shipping traffic in Region II...