Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association
Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) is an non-profit organization that is based in Greece and that was first established in 1982 by Greek shipowners. The main aim of the organization is driven by the vision of its owners which is to promote environmental awareness and responsible behavior among the Greek shipping industry. Also, HELMEPA is focused on promoting sustainable shipping practices in the blue economy sector not only in Greece but also internationally.
The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association organizes educational programs which include training courses and seminars to promote sustainability and environmentally friendly practices in the shipping industry. The training programs of HELMEPA is not only focused on professionals involved in the maritime industry but also in the general public. Some examples of their training programs include:
- International convention for the prevention of pollution from ships: these training courses are designed mainly for ship officers, crew members and employees in the shipping sector. The goal of the training courses is to train the participants to understand and comply with the regulations to prevent pollution of the marine environment. The topics of the course include among others sewage treatment, garbage treatment and ballast water treatment.
- Port reception facilities: the training courses are intended to port personnel and employees involved in the management of port reception facilities. The topics of the course include among others handling of ship-generated waste, monitoring and reporting as well as compliance with legal requirements.
- Environmental awareness: the training courses are open to the general public and their goal is to raise awareness about environmental issues related to shipping and the marine environment. The topics of the course include among others marine litter, oil spills and impact of shipping on marine ecosystems.
HELMEPA is also organizing and conduct environmental campaigns to raise awareness. Among its activities HELMEPA includes campaigns for clean seas which includes clean-up event in collaboration with local communities and other organisations. Another campaign HELMEPA organizes is for ship recycling in which the organization collaborates with shipping companies as well as governments to encourage the adoption of sustainable ship recycling practices.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT?
Overall, HELMEPA over the course of the years has helped to improve the environmental practices within the shipping industry with its training courses. These training courses have led to a reduction in marine pollution as well as an overall improvement in environmental sustainability. The public awareness of environmental issues also flourished in recent years with many companies adopting measures for environmental protection. Also, HELMEPA has received international recognition for its efforts towards a more sustainable future. The organization has received rewards for this matter from organization such as the International Maritime Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme. Last but not least, HELMEPA is creating a network for collaboration among stakeholders in the blue economy sector, including shipping companies and environmental organizations.