Assessment tool for the interaction between shipping and the marine environment (ECOMARPOL)
The ECOMARPOL platform provides geospatial (but also, where information is available, temporal) information on marine pollution related to maritime transport and recreation, as well as on the zoning of marine and coastal zones, the mapping of environmentally sensitive areas and areas of special interest and protection, such as National Marine Parks, Natura 2000 sites, etc. The collection and geographical mapping of information, following user’s preferences and choices, allows the ECOMARPOL platform to be used as a decision support tool in policy planning applications and in response to crises such as maritime accidents.
The ECOMARPOL platform also constitutes a geographic information tool on the reception and treatment capacities of ship sewage provided by Greek ports, as an aid for the planning of new marine leisure routes and cruise stations.
The above information is accessed through a WebGIS tool, which has already been developed, updated with information on the location of environmentally significant areas, and is still being enriched.
The ECOMARPOL platform also includes tools – algorithms for assessing the environmental footprint of maritime transport and recreation. These algorithms allow easy but well-documented estimation of the rate of introduction of air and marine pollutants into the environment, depending on the characteristics and use of a vessel. The combination of the information generated with statistical estimates of the marine traffic in the Greek seas, as generated by other project activities, allows the overall assessment of the current situation, as well as the impact of the implementation of new technologies and regulatory provisions, Greece’s compliance with European directives and international agreements, etc.
Finally, the ECOMARPOL platform also includes an information interface on the history and current state of interactions between shipping and marine environmental research, as well as the future prospects for wider cooperation between maritime and marine research organisations, with the ambition that this interface will be the basis for the generation of new ideas and the future exploitation of the global reach and strength of Greek shipping in order to strengthen the research sector.