Friday, April 10, 2009

ATCM Update

The first week of the 32nd Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting has drawn to a close, with mixed results. Some promising steps were taken, namely the first joint meeting of the Committee for Environmental Protection and the Scientific Committee of CCAMLR (Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources). The joint meeting was important because it offered both bodies the chance to discuss how they could cooperate to protect the Antarctic environment, even though their mandates are somewhat different. Discussions on Marine Protected Areas were also positive, with strong support shown in the joint meeting for some MPA papers that were submitted for consideration. Read our ECO Newspaper for more.

The ATCM additionally provided ASOC's (and everyone's) first look at the official report on the Explorer sinking from Liberia, under whose flag the ship was registered. The report was quite disturbing, with the investigator concluding that the ship had probably suffered substantial damage (initially reported as only a fist-sized hole) due to the ship Master's misjudgment of the thickness of the ice the ship was sailing through. The report seems to reinforce that there were some significant mistakes made, and that while the ship Master did make an excellent decision to abandon ship early, it was rather lucky that no loss of life occurred. ASOC looks forward to discussing the serious implications of this report next week.

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