Putting the Garbage Out

Press Release
Monday, January 21, 2013

Keep the seas clean in 2013, reminds North P&I Club, as new international garbage rules take effect.

North P&I Club reminds its members that 2013 is the first full year of operation of new international garbage-disposal rules that greatly limit the dumping of garbage at sea. According to North's loss prevention manager Andrew Glen, ‘With very few specific exceptions, the new rules reverse the historical presumption that most garbage can be discharged at a suitable distance offshore. Shipowners thus need to ensure they have the right garbage-disposal procedures and policies in place and continue to keep the seas clean throughout 2013 and beyond.'

In July 2011 the International Maritime Organization adopted amendments to Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) in Resolution MEPC.201(62), and issued guidelines for their implementation in Resolutions MEPC.219(63) and MEPC.220(63).

Restrictions on the disposal of cargo residues and the discharge of hold wash water containing cargo harmful to the marine environment (HME) have been tightened in the revised regulations. ‘Not all shippers will be aware of their obligation to notify ship's masters when cargo is HME,' says Glen. ‘Shipowners and masters should therefore ensure they are aware of the properties of cargo loaded to comply with the new discharge requirements.'

The revised annex also severely restricts the discharge of other forms of garbage into coastal waters and defined special areas. These include the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea and Red Sea areas as well as the Gulfs area, wider Caribbean region and the Antarctic area. In the light of the new regulations North is recommending that all shipowners aim to use port reception facilities as the primary means of discharging all garbage.

‘To ensure timely transfer of large quantities of ship-generated garbage to port reception facilities, it is essential for shipowners or their agents to make arrangements for garbage reception well in advance,' says Glen. ‘Advice should be provided to the port on the type of garbage to be discharged, on whether it is separated and on the estimate amounts.'

North also flags up a further tightening of US discharge rules in December this year.  The US Environmental Protection Agency's existing programme of vessel general permits for discharges incidental to normal operation is being replaced by a more rigorous regime.

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