Mega-cruise ship emissions among the highest. | Gabriel Alomar

The COP 22 meeting of 21 Mediterranean countries and the EU in Antalya, Turkey concluded on Friday. Within the framework of the UN's Mediterranean Action Plan, the meeting has set targets for the reduction of maritime transport sulphur oxides by 2025, with one exception: the waiting area for the Suez Canal.

The Cercle Mallorquí de Negocis association of businesses has been present as an observer. Its president, Bartomeu Rosselló, says that companies are preparing to adapt to the new standard. "They know that there will be regulations and they will have to face technological changes in the use of low-emission fuels. These measures will affect all types of vessel, although those that contribute the most to maritime transport emissions are obviously large merchant ships and mega-cruise ships."

He points out that "we are moving towards a future in which smaller leisure boats will have electricity using batteries, while large ships will opt for a mixed system of hydrogen and fossil fuels, so long as the emissions are below a certain level". He believes that exclusive use of hydrogen or electricity is perfectly feasible in the longer term. "It is about evolving as land vehicles have done."

Rosselló states that the maritime sector is responsible for most of the emissions in the Balearics. This is not only due to activity in ports but also to the international traffic around the islands. "During the pandemic, we have verified how, despite the general reduction in economic activity, emissions in the Balearics have been maintained. This has been due to international maritime transport."