ECOPORTIL-Environmental Protection of Areas Surrounding Ports
using Innovative Learning Tools for Legislation

E-learning Platform

One of the main tasks of ECOPORTIL project is the training and capacity building of stakeholders at the ports and nearby coastal zones as a measure to prevent pollution and preserve the marine resources. Special educational e-learning seminars are provided to this end in the fields of air quality; energy efficiency and climate change; water quality; waste management; environmental management systems at ports; and eco-mapping of the environmental condition at ports.

  • The courses will be delivered online and the attendees will be able to follow them upon their schedule.
  • After the fulfillment of the lessons, all successful attendees will receive a certification.
  • The seminars are free of charge.


The training topics are the following:

  • Module 1. Environmental Impacts, Policies and International Conventions for Shipping and Ports

The module aims to provide the students with the basic principles governing the marine environment as a single ecosystem emphasizing on the dangers that threaten it. The goal of this course is to introduce students to the marine environment as a single ecosystem hosting living organisms, but also being an area/space of economic and social activities for exploitation, recreation activities and research.

Specifically, the course content includes:

  • A complete understanding of the key features of marine environment
  • The utility of the marine environment from an economic and financial perspective
  • Presentation of Special Marine Areas
  • The threats to the marine environment
  • Focus on climate change and its links with the shipping industry
  • Classification of risks with emphasis on those arising from maritime transportation
  • Presentation of methodological tools (Strategic Environmental Assessment) for analyzing the impacts of anthropogenic intervention in the marine environment
  • Provision of indicative topics for setting up group works and discussions, in order to better reflect the theoretical and practical background of interests and threats to the marine environment.

In this framework, the units of the module are:

  • Introduction
  • Environmental policies for shipping, ports and the environment
  • International conventions for shipping, ports and the environment
  • Self-assessment test

For the module Environmental Impacts, Policies and International Conventions for Shipping and Ports register here.

  • Module 2. Oil pollution

Oil tankers transport some 2,900 million tons of crude oil and oil products every year around the world by sea. The magnitude of this trade imposes a high risk of pollution to the marine environment, either accidental or operational.

Measures stipulated by competent authorities by means of, mostly, international conventions, aim to ensure that the majority of oil tankers are safely built and operated and are constructed to reduce the amount of oil spilled in the event of an accident. Operational pollution, such as pollution resulting from routine tank cleaning operations, has also been within the range of these conventions.

In this module, we will be mostly preoccupied with the prevention of marine pollution by oil and its derivatives, a field which is, by and large, regulated by the Annex I of so-called MARPOL international convention which imposes operational, construction and safety regulations which, inter alia, aim to harmonize the regulatory treatment of:

  • Construction and certification requirements for oil tankers
  • Oil fuel tank technical specificities, management and protection
  • Shipboard marine pollution emergency plans
  • Machinery of ships
  • Management and record keeping

In this framework, the contents of the module in detail are:

  • Marine pollution from oil spillage
  • Principles of preparedness for oil spills
  • Principles for oil spill response
  • Oil spill contingency planning
  • Self-assessment test

For the module Oil pollution register here.

  • Module 3. Ballast water management

Since the introduction of steel-hulled vessels, water has been used as ballast to stabilize vessels at sea. Ballast water is pumped in to maintain safe operating conditions throughout a voyage. This practice reduces stress on the hull, provides transverse stability, improves propulsion and maneuverability, and compensates for weight changes in various cargo load levels and due to fuel and water consumption.

While ballast water is essential for safe and efficient modern shipping operations, it may pose serious ecological, economic and health problems due to the multitude of marine species carried in ships’ ballast water. These include bacteria, microbes, small invertebrates, eggs, cysts and larvae of various species. The transferred species may survive to establish a reproductive population in the host environment, becoming invasive, out-competing native species and multiplying into pest proportions.

Scientists first recognized the signs of an alien species introduction after a mass occurrence of the Asian phytoplankton algae Odontella (Biddulphia sinensis) in the North Sea in 1903. But it was not until the 1970s that the scientific community began reviewing the problem in detail. In the late 1980s, Canada and Australia were among countries experiencing particular problems with invasive species, and they brought their concerns to the attention of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).

The problem of invasive species in ships’ ballast water is largely due to the expanded trade and traffic volume over the last few decades and, since the volumes of seaborne trade continue to increase, the problem may not yet have reached its peak yet. The effects in many areas of the world have been devastating. Quantitative data show that the rate of bio-invasions is continuing to increase at an alarming rate and new areas are being invaded all the time.

The spread of invasive species is now recognized as one of the greatest threats to the ecological and the economic well-being of the planet. These species are causing enormous damage to biodiversity and the valuable natural riches of the earth upon which we depend. Direct and indirect health effects are becoming increasingly serious and the damage to the environment is often irreversible.

In this framework, the contents of the module in detail are:

  • Alien species and their effects
  • Ballast water management convention
  • Ballast water management strategies
  • Self-assessment test

For the module Ballast water management register here.

  • Module 4. Air Pollution

In 2019, air pollution is considered by WHO as the greatest environmental risk to health. Toxic atmospheric pollutants (SO2, NOx and PM) are emitted by ships and an array of measures has been adopted by IMO (ANNEX VI of MARPOL) and EU (the Sulphur Directive) to combat them. For the implementation of these measures, new fuels, operations, technology and infrastructure is applied to both ships and ports.

For the module Air Pollution register here.

  • Module 5. Waste Management at Ships and Ports

Ports are in the center of a logistics chain regarding ship generated waste as they receive waste from ships, and they direct them to the adjacent city’s or the national waste management system. Hence the types and amounts of wastes delivered at ports depend on the types of ships that visit the port (dry cargo, oil tankers, cruise and passenger ships etc) and the waste management methods on-board (prevention and minimization, separation and recycling, incineration, legal disposal at sea). In this framework, at first the learner will study the general concepts of waste management regardless of their source. Then the IMOs and European legislation regarding the sound management of ship generated waste will be presented. The types and quantities of waste generated on-board ships as well as the methods for their management and handling in situ and at ports will be discussed. Finally, as the ship at the end of its useful life becomes waste itself, ship recycling practices and norms are presented.

For the module Waste Management at Ships and Ports register here.

  • Module 6. Ecomapping of The Environmental Condition in the Ports

Eco-mapping uses several maps to visualize an organization’s environmental problems (“hot spots”). These maps depict the location and usage of water, energy, raw materials, and the locations and amounts of waste created. Together, they provide a useful, multi-layer set of graphical information that can lead immediately to environmental action programs. This visual approach makes eco-mapping very easy to understand and a useful tool for raising the awareness of employees on the environmental impacts of their organizations’ activities. It helps to understand the environmental problems, materials flows and consumption records, opinions, and the perception of workers and work processes. It also serves to involve more people in early stages of environmental management implementation without needing a huge amount of specialist understanding. Once all information is collected, environmental teams in the enterprises have a 360-degree picture of key environmental information. These can be visualized by using symbols on a simple map of the site. As 80% of environmental information is location-based, eco-maps show what is happening and where. Eco-mapping is the ideal starter kit for integrated environmental management, which aims ultimately to cut costs and the use of resources.

Eco mapping typically comprises an inventory of practices and problems, a systematic method of conducting an on-site environmental review, a collection of information which shows the current situation using imagery and other materials, a work and awareness-raising tool, a do-it-yourself tool and an array of arrangements to facilitate stakeholder involvement and participation.

For the module Ecomapping of The Environmental Condition in the Ports register here.

  • Module 7. Environmental Management Systems (ISO, EMAS, PERS)

The aim of applying an environmental management system is the protection of the environment through a continuous process of designing, implementing, evaluating and improving an organization’s environmental performance. In this respect there are general, established environmental management systems such as ISO 14001, developed by ISO and EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) developed by the European Commission. Furthermore, the highly specialized nature of the environmental challenges in the port area lead to the development of specific and adapted systems to their needs (Self Diagnosis Method – SDM and Port Environmental Review System – PERS). PERS is a good starting point for those ports that intend to fall within the standards of the environmental certification ISO 14001 and/or EMAS.

For the module Environmental Management Systems (ISO, EMAS, PERS) register here.

  • Module 8. National Legislation

Environmental legislation and resulting regulations are continually evolving at national, European, and international level. EU has played a pivotal role in shaping national environmental law of the Member States. In this module, an overview of the main national regulatory instruments on environmental protection, shipping and ports of Bulgaria, Cyprus and Greece are presented.

For the module National Legislation register here.