Roundtable on potential sources of microplastics from shipping and potential mitigation measures

  • 16/09/2021
  • 16/09/2021
  • Tintagel House
    92 Albert Embankment
    London, SE1 7TY
    United Kingdom
  • Dr Bev Mackenzie

Roundtable from 14:00 to 17:00 BST.

This event is taking place as part of London International Shipping Week 2021.

In recent years public concern has grown rapidly in relation to the potential threats that microplastics cause to both the marine environment and to human health. Microplastics are ubiquitous in the ocean system but much remains unknown about the sources and impacts. Whilst a significant majority of microplastics comes from land-based activities, sea-based activities should not be ignored in global efforts to combat the global plastic problem.

This in-person roundtable will explore the evidence that exists regarding ship-based sources of microplastics and the potential scale of the problem. Debate will be centred specifically around grey water as a source of microplastics and will look into the role of regulation plus examine what action owners, operators, managers and seafarers could take to reduce any impact.
The roundtable will consist of a number of short presentations covering the measurement and impact of microplastics, the sea-based sources and an overview of what initiatives are underway to limit microplastic pollution. There will be plenty of time for discussion and debate and delegates should come prepared to actively participate - considering a number of charge questions and to take part in a number of polls.

Expressions of interest in attending the event should be sent to Dr Bev Mackenzie, BIMCO London Representative and Manager, Marine Environment via by 9 September 2021. Places are strictly limited.


1400 Welcome and introduction to BIMCO and arrangements for the roundtable

Aron Sørensen, Head of Marine Environment, BIMCO

Aron Sørensen is head of the BIMCO Marine Environment Department. He joined BIMCO in 2008 and since 2010 has been head of the department. He is responsible for BIMCO’s active involvement and negotiations on topics relating to the environment at a number of international organisations to help ensure a level of practicality in relevant conventions and regional/national requirements. Aron represents BIMCO at various conferences and holds regular webinars. His department assists BIMCO members by disseminating information and assessing the potential impact of environment regulations. Aron is also responsible for the identification of future “hot topics” and in this connection has been the project leader on certain initiatives as well as the following industry publications: Industry Standard for In-water Cleaning with Capture, The Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ships and Industry Standard on Software Maintenance of Shipboard Equipment. Aron started his career at sea as a deck officer before moving to the Danish Maritime Authority in 1992, where he began teaching future deck officers and ended being responsible for regulating the safety of navigation which included negotiations at the EU Council and the International Maritime Organization.

1410 Introduction to marine microplastics

Prof. Pennie Lindeque, Head of Science: Marine Ecology and Biodiversity and Head of Marine Microplastic Group, Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Professor Pennie Lindeque is Head of Science for the Marine Ecology and Biodiversity Group and, alongside the Science Team, helps to direct PML strategy. Since 2010 Pennie has developed and then led a new area of research at PML; the ecological impacts of microplastics as emerging pollutants. Her current focus includes investigating the bioavailability and impact of microplastics and other anthropogenic pollutants such as antifouling paint particles, tyre road wear particles and biodegradable bioplastics on marine organisms, ecological processes, and estuarine and coastal ecosystems. Pennie is a leading authority in bioavailability and impacts of anthropogenic particulates on marine biota. She has led multiple field campaigns, recently looking at the distribution of microplastic in coastal waters. More recently, Pennie has been interested in how natural ecological processes can play a role in mitigating anthropogenic problems such as plastic pollution. Her work on the impact of microplastics in the marine environment has directly influenced policy in the UK and around the world, including the UK ban on microbeads in cosmetics.

1425 Ship-based sources of microplastics

Dr Peter Kershaw, Marine Environmental Consultant

Peter Kershaw is an independent marine environmental consultant based in the UK. This follows a thirty-year research career, at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas, UK), working on many aspects of marine environmental protection. His current focus is on marine litter and microplastics, in the context of the 3Rs principle of plastic use and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This has involved working with many individuals and organisations in the public and private sector, formally and informally, including a number of United Nations agencies, academia and regional bodies, as well as governments within the context of the G7 and G20 marine litter action plans. He is a former Chair of the Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP), a UN science advisory body, and currently is co-chair of the GESAMP Working Group 40 (WG40), ‘Sources, fate and effects of marine litter and microplastics’, a position he has held since the creation of the group in 2012. He is currently a member of the International Expert Group advising the Ministry of Environment of Japan on monitoring microplastics in the ocean.

1440 Speaker Q&A

1500 Discussion

  • Existing best practice in management of ship-based microplastic pollution
  • Technological and operational considerations and their potential impact on both the environment and on ship operations and crew.
  • The future for mandatory regulation and/or voluntary actions


The safety of people attending our roundtable will be our utmost priority. We will ensure all delegates are advised of any measures in place at the venue prior to attending the event.  We do recognise that there remains a risk that COVID restrictions may still be in place or may be re-imposed by the time of the event. Should this be the case any in-person event will be changed to virtual and this may occur with relatively short notice.