The Black Sea
Common Responsibility
Common Ground
Action Plan

Dr Charles N. Ehler

In 1971 the British author C.P. Snow wrote cogently about
what he called the 'two faces' of technology, benign and threatening.
'All through history it has brought blessings and curses.
It was true when men first made primitive tools and clambered
out into the open savannah: one of the earliest uses of those
tools seems to have been made for homicide. It was true of
the discovery of agriculture, which transformed social living
but also made some sort of organised armies practicable. It
was true of the first industrial revolution. Perhaps the sharpest
example of this two-faced nature of technology is the effect
of medicine. It has reduced infantile mortality, even in the
poorest countries? Yet it has led us straight into the flood
of population which is the greatest danger of the next fifty
years.'The unexpected environmental consequences of pollutant
discharges from industrial sources, the cost of pollution
control (estimated to be about US$125 billion annually or
over 2% of Gross Domestic Product for the United States alone),
and continuing population growth and technological development
are causing engineers to rethink the basic concepts of engineering
design, as they relate to environmentally compatible technologies.
There is a growing trend toward waste reduction, or pollution
prevention, stressing total system design (as opposed to old
add-on devices or end-of-pipe treatment) to reduce or avoid
waste formation in industrial systems.

The focus of this theme was on the impact of industrial activities
is marine navigation. More than 1.7 billion tons of crude
oil are transported annually by ship from producing and refining
countries to consuming countries. Oktay Ekinci described
the role of international marine commerce in the historical
development of the Black Sea region and the threat of increased
numbers of ships that will transport Caspian Sea and other
Asian oil to its markets, particularly through the Bosphorus

John Lyras reviewed the international legal framework
that regulates the discharges of oil from both routine shipboard
operations, for example, de-ballasting and tank-cleaning,
to accidental spills. While marine transportation accounts
for a relatively small amount of total oil pollution in the
sea on a global basis, when major marine accidents occur they
usually result in spectacular, short-term impacts, for example
the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. Lyras concluded that
the international regime has reduced significantly both operational
and accidental discharges of oil into the marine environment
and that voluntary shipping associations such as HELMEPA (Greece)
and TURMEPA (Turkey), formed to educate the maritime industry
about its environmental impacts, show promise for maintaining
this trend.

Patricia Birnie discussed the legal order of the
seas that has evolved from the 'freedom of the sea' of Grotius
(1609) to the obligations of all nations 'to preserve and
protect the marine environment from all sources of pollution'
under the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982). She pointed out that
it is only quite recently 'that moving toward management of
the seas as an integrated whole, rather than through a series
of ad hoc regimes, has been seen to be desirable and necessary'.

Finally, a controversial proposal by Richard Harbison
to remove an invasive species, the gelatinous ctenophore Mnemiopsis
leidyi, that has been carried to the Black Sea from the Americas
in the ballast waters of ships, was described in the last
presentation. The introduction of the ctenophore has dramatically
altered the ecosystem of the Black Sea, including the decline
of the anchovy fishery. Harbison would introduce another foreign
species, the butterfish Peprilus triacanthus, to reduce
the population of the ctenophore - an action that itself poses
significant risks to the Black Sea ecosystem and one which
provoked criticism from several local scientists in the symposium

International and national actions, such as the Oil Pollution
Act of 1990 in the USA, and subsequent rules and legislation,
substantially increased the economic cost of marine pollution
incidents to polluters and provided other measures intended
to enhance marine safety and environmental protection. The
changes have produced substantial incentives for shipping
companies to reduce operational risks through improved ship
construction, navigation procedures and equipment, and professional
development. However, there is still no systematic programme
to monitor shipping, economic, and safety performance trends
or their relationship to marine safety laws and regulations
or other options for improving marine safety. These monitoring
and assessment programmes are essential for the maritime industry
to continue to move in the right direction.

The environmental challenges of coastal cities (Mr Oktay Ekinci)
The shipping world and protection of the sea (Mr John Lyras)
Major waterways: international law and the commons (Professor Patricia Birnie)
Controlling an exotic species in the Black Sea (Dr Richard Harbison)