© Alain Philippe

Together, we sea clear


We know what we like to see when it comes to the sea. Our location, knowledge and experience give us a clear view of how trade, safety, and sea innovation should look in the future. Let's share our ideas to meet the global challenges we're facing.

As a member of the IMO Council, Belgium will strive for optimisation and collaboration to make international shipping a positive and progressive sector. We aim to bring a new style with a team of experienced people where everyone gets equal opportunities.

Why you should take Belgium on board the IMO

Watch our introduction:
"How does Belgium sea clear"

#1 Sharing knowledge & building partnerships

The North Sea is the gate to one of the biggest ports in Europe. We can count on a world-class industry that excels in tankers and dredging, and our renowned sense of innovation. We're famous for our sense of innovation. And with this set of skills and industry, we're constantly looking for new ways to tackle the most complex problems.


We are heading for zero emissions from shipping. We're partnering with other countries to invest in new technologies to replace traditional fuels. In 2017, Hydroville launched in Belgium, and it was the first hydrogen-powered passenger vessel to sail on the river Scheldt. Today, several hydro-tugs and pax ferries have followed, and we're building, as we speak, ships to sail on ammonia.

Green corridors

The Belgian maritime industry has established joint ventures, such as demonstration hubs and green hydrogen production plants. We're even developing green corridors between several Belgian ports and ports from all over the world.

Offshore wind energy

Despite our relatively modest coastline of 67 kilometres, we're the fifth biggest offshore wind energy producer. And with the Princess Elisabeth Island, we're building the first energy island in the world. It will become the switching point between offshore wind farms and the onshore high-voltage grid.

Autonomous shipping

Belgium is a forerunner in the development of autonomous and crewless vessels. We actively cooperate for a fit-for-purpose framework at the IMO to stimulate this innovative sector and ensure safe sea operations. Currently, we conduct pilot projects in the Belgian part of the North Sea. It's a testing ground for innovative companies working on self-steering crafts, remote control of ships and autonomous vessels.

#2 High standards for vessels

With strict and fair enforcement of relevant international conventions, Belgium safeguards seafarers' rights. We continuously monitor Belgian-flagged vessels to ensure the highest standards on board our fleet. We also conduct over 1,000 inspections in our ports annually by highly trained professionals. On top, we constantly work with industry partners and other stakeholders to look for ways to improve the well-being of seafarers, the environment, and safety on board our ships.

#3 Safe and secure transport

Organised crime increasingly uses ships, ports, and port facilities for illegal smuggling from one country to another. We must fight this abuse of the maritime cluster in all areas: success rate, the chance of being caught and the possibility of sanctions. This approach will only succeed when conducted with all partners and authorities involved, including countries where criminal organisations export illegal substances and countries facing difficulties with illegal imports.

Port security assessment

We recently adopted new maritime security legislation that goes beyond IMO regulations. The law provides for an extensive port facility security assessment. Companies will therefore have to assess whether there is a risk that ship-port interfaces are used to facilitate the illegal smuggling of people, wildlife, or goods. When we detect threats during the assessment, the port facility must take the necessary measures to prevent these criminal activities as much as possible.

Declaration against illegal trafficking of drugs

Earlier this year, Belgium and different major container shipping companies signed a declaration to collaborate in the fight against the illegal trafficking of drugs. Authorities can also use this framework to combat the illegal trafficking of other products, such as wildlife trafficking. A public-private partnership will improve the information exchange and the introduction of innovative seals, intelligent containers, and other tracking applications will help protect containers more effectively.

Staff integrity and resilience

Together with the industry, Belgium works on a continued commitment to staff integrity and resilience. This will be done by cooperating in developing, organising, and participating in training courses. This way, they know how to recognise suspicious behaviours or containers and where to report them.

#4 Consensus & cooperation

In Belgium, we love to approach challenges from different angles and aim to involve all parties and stakeholders concerned. Together with the IMO, we want to address global challenges and safeguard the freedom of navigation. We strive for consensus within IMO and contribute to the organisation's work by playing an active role. We recently chaired the delicate discussion in the working group on Underwater Radiated Noise, which resulted in a revised version of the guidelines. One of our colleagues also took on the lead auditor role in the IMSAS audit scheme.

Antwerp Training Centre (APEC)

The Port of Antwerp-Bruges provides courses and runs many programmes for partners worldwide. People acquire new skills and improve their knowledge to manage and operate ports and terminals while creating added value for customers and partners.

Stronger maritime administrations

Through bilateral cooperation, Belgium has also shared its expertise to help reinforce the capacities of maritime administrations. This cooperation also extends to supporting activities in the field of maritime legislation and sharing knowledge in the areas of marine environment, port security and safety.

Technical cooperation

Belgium strongly supports the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) within IMO. We committed funds to ITCP and will continue to do so as it is a programme we strongly believe in.

Encourage more women in the maritime sector

Belgium is an active member of the IMO. You may have noticed that more than half of our delegation is female. We not only strive for more gender balance in all sectors, but we also prefer to lead by example and have female co-workers in every part of our administration.

Take Belgium on board the IMO council

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