Revised regulations for the prevention of pollution of the oceans by sewage are expected to be adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) when it meets for its 51st session from 29 March to 2 April 2004.
Other items on the agenda include follow-up to the adoption of the new Ballast Water Convention, air pollution and ship recycling.
Amendments to MARPOL 73/78 - Annex IV
The revised MARPOL Annex
IV containing regulations for the prevention of pollution by sewage from ships was approved by the MEPC in 2000 and can now be formally adopted following the entry into force of the optional Annex in September 2003, with a proposed entry into force date of 1 August 2005.
Annex IV contains a set of regulations regarding discharge of sewage into the sea, ships' equipment and systems for the control of sewage discharge, provision of facilities at ports and terminals for the reception of sewage, and requirements for survey and certification. It includes a model International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate to be issued by national shipping administrations to ships under their jurisdiction.
The revised draft Annex will apply to new ships engaged in international voyages, of 400 gross tonnage and above or which are certified to carry more than 15 persons. Existing ships will be required to comply with the provisions of the revised Annex IV five years after the date of its entry into force. Once in force, the Annex will require ships to be equipped with either a sewage treatment plant or a sewage comminuting and disinfecting system or a sewage holding tank.
The discharge of sewage into the sea will be prohibited, except when the ship has in operation an approved sewage treatment plant; or is discharging comminuted and disinfected sewage using an approved system at a distance of more than three nautical miles from the nearest land; or is discharging sewage which is not comminuted or disinfected at a distance of more than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
Amendments to MARPOL 73/78 - Annex V
Proposed amendments to the Appendix to MARPOL Annex V on Prevention of pollution by garbage from ships are also set for adoption. The amendments relate to the recording of disposal of cargo residues in the Garbage Record Book.
Revised MARPOL Annex I and Annex II set for approval
The MEPC is expected to approve the revised texts of MARPOL 73/78 Annex I and Annex II with a view to subsequent adoption at MEPC 52 in October 2004, with an expected entry into force date of 1 January 2007.
Both Annexes have been updated and include the amendments adopted in recent years.