The article presents the issues related to ecological security of the Baltic Sea. The issue was taken from the perspective of Poland as one of the Baltic States, and also as a Member State of the European Union. The authors discussed the mechanisms and legal instruments which are crucial for the ecological security of the Baltic Sea (i.e. Helsinki Convention of 1974, or Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea Region “Baltic 21”). The importance of cross-border cooperation has also been emphasized as an essential element of the security policy in the Baltic Sea area. The article also indicated threats to the protection of Baltic waters, among others, eutrophication.
At the end of August 2012 the Polish Parliament enacted the Act on State Marine Accident Investigation Commission, which regulates its organization and operation. The Act transposed, within its regulation, Directive 2009/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 establishing the fundamental principles governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector and is based on the Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident (Casualty Investigation Code), issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) together with amendments to the SOLAS Convention. The purpose of the Directive, as well as the Casualty Investigation Code, is to improve maritime safety and the prevention of pollution by ships by facilitating the expeditious holding of safety investigations and proper analysis of marine casualties and incidents in order to determine their causes. The EU Parliament obliged, through the Directive, the EU Member States to ensure that the safety investigations are conducted under the responsibility of an impartial permanent investigative body, endowed with the necessary powers, and by suitably qualified investigators, competent in matters relating to marine casualties and incidents. This impartial permanent investigative body had been named in Poland: Państwowa Komisja Badania Wypadków Morskich [the State Marine accident Investigation Commission] and began its operation in May 2013 upon the appointment, by the Minister of Transport, Construction and Maritime Economy, of the third one of five statutory members of the Commission. Since the beginning of its activity the Commission has initiated 77 safety investigations, prepared and adopted 272 resolutions, published 53 safety reports and issued more than 30 safety recommendations. The establishment and activity of the Commission leads to greater awareness of casualty causation and has a positive impact on the level of maritime safety.
The article is an attempt of providing basic information on the Polish Register of Ships – (rejestr okrętowy), its legal principles, construction and mode of operation. The text is by no means a comprehensive legal analysis of this institution – such a study would have necessitated much more time and effort, but it is rather a synthetic guidance on how the register is designed, how it works, or at least how it should have worked and what sort of purposes it primarily serves. The publication reflects a present status of legislation in Poland, i.e. the respective regulations of the Polish Maritime Code enacted in 2001. It should be noted that a draft of a new Polish Maritime Code has recently been prepared, that designs the Polish Register of Ships in a slightly different, more flexible and up-to-date, mode. However, at the moment, we are not able to predict when the new regulations might be enacted and become applicable. Polish maritime hypothecation and mortgage are subject to a separate study that shall be presented in the near future.
There is a growing interest in new transportation routes that combine benefits of shorter distances, cost-effective transits and routes not troubled by maritime security concerns. The Northwest Passage offers a package of routes through the Canadian maritime zone; it is 9,000 km shorter than the Panama Canal route and 17,000 km shorter than the Cape Horn route. The Northern Sea Route shortens a Hamburg-Yokohama voyage by 4,800 miles, in comparison with the Suez Canal route. The transpolar route, if it materializes with an ice-free Central Arctic Ocean route, would shorten distances even further. Given the increase in regional and international navigation and shipping in the region, it is therefore not surprising that in recent years Arctic States and international bodies focused on the needs of enhanced safety and environmental standards for polar shipping. In addition to the dedicated domestic polar shipping regulation, primarily in Canada and the Russian Federation, the Arctic Council and International Maritime Organization (IMO) have launched important initiatives. The most important is establishing of international rules for ships operating in polar waters – The Polar Code.
The concept of ecosystem services becomes more and more popular in regulation of the environmental protection. One of the premises of that concept is treatment of a human and human activity as an integral part of an ecosystem. Interrelations between human activity and ecosystem can be described through the concept of ecosystem services. A certain degree of commodification of natural environment which is immanently connected with the concept of ecosystem services can become useful as a tool of assessing the impact of human activities on ecosystem as well as regulating that impact. Marine protection law is a good example of attempts to introduce the interrelated concepts of ecosystem approach and ecosystem services into functioning of the regulatory schemes.
The article presents reviews of the European Union regulation on reporting formalities for ships entering the EU ports. It also analyses IMO regulation concerning that matter. Finally, the author exposes the differences between both legal systems and weaknesses of the solutions adopted. In the second part of the article the author discusses the Polish way of the reporting formalities system’s implementation. On the basis of a legal analysis as well as practice of the maritime authorities in Poland, the author finds that the Polish regulations seem to be exemplary.
Marine governance is an essential way of achieving the objectives of sustainable development. It ought to be understood as the process of planning, as well as decision-making and management at the national and regional levels taking into account the global ocean as an ecological unity. The process of decision-making is closely interrelated with the regional and transnational cross-border cooperation. The adoption of the EU Directive establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning (hereinafter: MSP Directive) plays an important role in developing of marine spatial planning in Europe by promoting MSP instruments. MSP Directive requires all coastal EU Member States to prepare cross-sectoral maritime spatial plans by 2021. The development of spatial plans for Polish marine areas was started in 2013. The MSP legal bases are included in the Marine Areas of the Republic of Poland and Maritime Administration Act of 1991 amended in 2015 and its implementing regulations.