The Port of Ravenna is geographically located in the northern Adriatic Sea, characterized by a shallow sea bed (with an average depth of 35m), gradually pending towards the south-east.
The Adriatic Sea is a unique environment, the end of an extended basin, with the largest concentration of Mediterranean river flows.
For this reason it is extraordinarily rich in plankton due to nutrients carried by rivers and is the custodian of a large biodiversity.
I principali fattori che influenzano fortemente la regione adriatica, come gran parte del mar Mediterraneo, rilevanti da un punto di vista ambientale e socio-economico, sono:
The main factors that strongly influence the Adriatic region, like much of the Mediterranean Sea, and which are relevant from an environmental and socio-economic point of view are:
- eutrophication (sometimes accompanied by massive mucilaginous outbreaks and the development of hypoxic/anoxic phenomena) and pollution from agricultural, industrial and port activities, tourism and population growth;
- the introduction of alien species through the ship’s ballast water, fouling, imports and biological invasions;
- fishing and over-exploitation of habitats and their biological resources.
All the above listed elements contribute, in fact, to the loss of marine biodiversity, especially in the coastal strip, which is today amongst one of the major environmental problems, further worsened in recent years due to climate change, and in particular due to the rising sea temperatures.
Many are the conventions, directives and action plans that deal with the environmental protection of the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, in particular, ranging from reclamation plans of vast areas to international agreements on maritime transport of hazardous substances, from documents addressing the management of “responsible fishing” to the integrated management of the highly vulnerable coastal areas. This is part of a general regulatory framework, broad but complex and fragmented (international, EU, national and regional sources), considering the numerous countries bordering the Adriatic Sea, some of which are not part of the European Union.
Significant in this regard is the agreement signed during the IMO Conference held in London in 2004 in relation to the “International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments”. Its implementation is particularly important for the Adriatic Sea in order to preserve the unique biodiversity of this region, also through, the further deepening of the knowledge of the maritime transport system.
The Port of Ravenna Authority adopts those available tools in order to harmonize and balance the biodiversity protection requirements (both marine and land) with those related to the development of productive activities by means of a general plan for the environmentally sound management of sediments conducting continuous monitoring of the interested areas and correctly programming the seabed handling activities. The Port Authority carries out regular sampling of marine sediments in the entire stretch of the port-canal on the basis of “Guidelines for the handling of marine sediments” drawn up by ICRAM (Central Institute for Scientific and Technological Research Applied to the Sea) and APAT (Environmental Protection and Technical Services Agency). Among the monitored pollutants there is the pond, as well as the organostannic compounds (TBT). The attention towards these compounds, which are present in antifouling paints used on the ships’ hulls, derives from the effects that these have on the marine environment, in particular on the hormonal system of marine organisms. In September 2008, the AFS Convention ” International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships”, came into force (adopted by the IMO in 2001), which prohibits the use of the above mentioned organostannic compounds and other harmful substances used as anti-fouling systems applied to the hull of ships.
The Port Authority also has the responsibility of environmental hygiene and maintenance of state-owned water surfaces within the port canal. The port is therefore equipped with cleaning and decontamination services of these areas and systems for the management (collection, transport, storage and disposal / recycling) of all types of solid and liquid waste, also those generated on board the ships including bilge and grey water.
Important for the protection of sea water against pollution is the development of the project related to the adaptation of the drainage system in the port area for the delivery of meteoric and first rain water within the senses of Regional Directive No. 286/2005 and subsequent Regional Directive n. 1860/06. This project involves in addition to the Port Authority, also involves the local authorities and port operators.