World’s Smallest Island Country Joins IMO

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… As Judge says Ban on Coal Shipments through Oakland Port Is Invalid***

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has welcomed a new member, the Republic of Nauru.

On May 14, 2018, Nauru deposited its instrument of acceptance to the IMO Convention with the United Nations depositary – becoming IMO’s 174th member state.

With an area of 21 square kilometers, Nauru is the world’s smallest island nation with a population of just under 10,000 inhabitants. This developing country is situated north-east of Australia, some 42 kilometers south of the equator.

In a separate announcement, the IMO informed that Monaco has acceded to the IMO treaty covering emissions from ship exhausts and energy efficiency (MARPOL Annex VI).

The instrument limits the main air pollutants contained in ships exhaust gas, including sulfur oxides and nitrous oxides, and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances. It also includes energy-efficiency measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

Formally established in 1948, the IMO is the United Nations specialized agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

In the meantime, a district judge in the United States has annulled a ban which prohibits the transportation and export of coal through a terminal at the Port of Oakland.

Vince Chhabria, US District Judge, Northern District of California, ruled on May 15, 2018, that the resolution applying the coal ordinance to Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal (OBOT) is invalid.

In a Development Agreement from 2013, Oakland granted OBOT the right to develop a rail and marine terminal on the portion of former Oakland Army Base known as the West Gateway. Under the agreement, the terminal would transfer shipments of bulk commodities from rail carriers to ships for export to foreign countries through the deepwater port.

However, back in 2016, the City of Oakland passed Oakland Ordinance and Resolution to prevent OBOT to transport and export coal and petroleum coke. The passing of the resolution came after protests from environmental groups which opposed to the use of coal globally and at the terminal.

OBOT filed a complaint in court in 2016, claiming “the passage of the Ordinance and Resolution have materially and substantially harmed OBOT.”

The resolution of the City of Oakland is “a breach of the development agreement”, the judge said on May 15.

“The City is therefore enjoined from relying on the resolution either to apply the ordinance to OBOT or to restrict future coal operations at the facility,” the judge ordered.

WMN.