Marseille, France


Although the metropolitan district of Marseille promised to take an environmentally sound approach in the management of its marinas within the framework of its ‘clean ports' campaign, the old Marseille Harbour does not comply with existing standards and has no treatment system in place for wash-offs from the dry docks. This is having a considerable impact on the port water quality. During processes carried out in the dry dock, solvents and other dangerous chemicals, especially those found in antifouling paints, are released and discarded without any treatment into the sea.

Surfrider and the Keeper met up with the leaders of the Marseille ports authority to make them aware of this issue. At the time, compliance with standards for dry dock areas did not appear to be one of their main priorities. In May 2011, a new port project was put forward by the metropolitan area of Marseille-Provence. This project is taking into account the need to comply with European standards for dry docks. It makes provisions for water, which can be decontaminated, to be redirected into the general sewage system, whilst the rest will be reprocessed by another network.

Today, we no longer have a Keeper for this battle, but Surfrider Foundation Europe participates in the various consultative meetings on the development of the future port.

The first phase of the works was carried out from March 2012 to January 2013. It concerned the first half of the port (canebière side). The work resumed in 2014 with the development of the "high" part on the shore side Pharo. The last phase of the works includes the "upper" side of the town hall and Mucem. The work is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

All information concerning the past and future works of the Vieux Port can be found on the website of the Old Port of Marseille.

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