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The HELCOM Copenhagen Declaration: A Regional Environmental Approach for Safer Shipping

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

Prevention of pollution from maritime traffic has been a major item for the Baltic Sea States since the beginning of their environmental co-operation in the 1970s. To ensure maritime safety in the Baltic Sea region, which is well-known for its narrow straits, shallow depths and archipelago areas, the Helsinki Commission has decided on a great number of measures during the past 20 years. In the last decade maritime transportation has been growing steadily, reflecting the intensified cooperation in the Baltic Sea region and a prospering economy which also leads to growing environmental risks. This was manifested again on 29 March 2001 with the Baltic Carrier accident. The Helsinki Commission promptly reacted by holding an extraordinary meeting on the request of the Danish Government on 10 September 2001 in Copenhagen. At the meeting, the Contracting Parties, represented through the ministers responsible for maritime transportation and the environment, and a representative from the EC agreed on a package of measures, further described below.

Affiliations: 1: Helsinki, Finland; 2: Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, Hamburg and Rostock, Germany


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