Leading Greek shipowners are being lined up to take part in a major green oceans conference in Athens next month to spearhead the government’s commitment to sustainability.

Decarbonising shipping will be a key theme alongside cutting plastics pollution and sustainable coastal tourism in the Our Ocean conference.

“We aim to bring shipping together with the global ocean community,” said Dr Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, the Greek prime minister’s special envoy for the ocean.

“The Our Ocean event will focus action on the effective greening of the sector, zero-carbon technology, and protecting marine biodiversity,” she told TradeWinds.

Among the initiatives expected to be unveiled is a decarbonisation centre for Greek shipping.

The Our Ocean conference programme was launched in 2014 by the US State Department and has become a key annual event for dialogue between governments, the private sector, NGOs and academia over protecting the ocean environment.

A key feature of the event is commitments to action, which in the past 10 years have seen a total of $130bn pledged by governments and companies in a total of 2,160 initiatives.

Maritime security

The Athens event was planned between former US special presidential envoy for climate change John Kerry and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who has been labelled Greece’s first green prime minister.

“Greece has the ambition for the greening of the shipping sector,” said Dr Avgerinopoulou, who is coordinating the event. “This is not just the shipowners, of course, but the shipbuilders and technology.”

In addition to support from the Union of Greek Shipowners, Greece expects participants from other European countries and Scandinavia. Maritime security will also be on the agenda.

The conference will be the first since last year’s agreement on the United Nations High Seas Treaty, and just before another meeting critical to a global microplastics anti-pollution convention that has been under discussion for years.

“We believe this ninth Our Oceans conference can play a very important role in supporting and expediting policies across these areas,” said Dr Avgerinopoulou.

“The key outcome of the event will take the form of new, concrete commitments from the global actors, which are voluntary, measurable, impactful actions with a clear time frame, along with announcements on the successful implementation of previous Our Ocean commitments.

“Through collaboration on a global scale, Greece envisions a future where the oceans thrive as resilient and vibrant ecosystems, ensuring their well-being for generations to come, and through shared global action, we aspire to achieve an outcome that will meet the level of ocean ambition the world needs today.”