Regulations

MARPOL ANNEX IV – PREVENTION OF POLLUTION FROM SEWAGE BY SHIPS

The discharge of sewage waste from a ship is regulated by MARPOL Annex IV which applies to ships, engaged in international voyages, of 400 gross tonnage and above or which are certified to carry more than 15 persons. The Annex requires ships to be equipped with either an approved sewage treatment plant or an approved sewage comminuting and disinfecting system or a sewage holding tank.

The discharge of sewage into the sea is prohibited, except when the ship has in operation an approved sewage treatment plant or when the ship is discharging comminuted and disinfected sewage using an approved system at a distance of more than three nautical miles from the nearest land.

Sewage which is not comminuted or disinfected may be discharged at a distance of more than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land when the ship is en route and proceeding at not less than 4 knots, and the rate of discharge of untreated sewage shall be approved by the Administration (see resolution MEPC.157(55).

Special Areas

Resolution MEPC.200(62) entered into force on 1 January 2013. The amendment introduced a definition for Special Areas as well as relevant requirements for the discharge of sewage from passenger ships in Special Areas and for port reception facilities.

The discharge of sewage from passenger ships within a Special Area is generally be prohibited under the new regulations, except when the ship has in operation an approved sewage treatment plant which has been certified by the Administration (see resolutionMEPC.227(64). The sewage treatment plant installed on a passenger ship intending to discharge sewage effluent in Special Areas should additionally meet the nitrogen and phosphorus removal standard when tested for its Certificate of Type Approval by the Administration (resolution MEPC.227(64), section 4.2).

Currently, the Baltic Sea area is the only Special Area under Annex IV. In accordance with resolution MEPC.275(69), the discharge requirements for Special Areas in regulation 11.3 of MARPOL Annex IV for the Baltic Sea Special Area shall take effect:

i. on 1 June 2019, for new passenger ships;

ii. on 1 June 2021, for existing passenger ships other than those specified in iii; and

iii. on 1 June 2023, for existing passenger ships en route directly to or from a port located outside the special area and to or from a port located east of longitude 28˚10′ E within the special area that do not make any other port calls within the special area.

Port State Control Inspection (PSC)

Whenever a ship arrives in a port, an inspector representing the port state may inspect the ship for any deficiency, this includes the sewage treatment system where they may look at any or all of the following;

  • The validity of the International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate (ISPPC)
  • The validity of the Wastewater plants IMO Certificate
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant is being operated correctly by the ship’s crew
  • All crew members know the international and local regulations
  • The discharge overboard is secured whilst in port
  • The installed wastewater treatment plant is in good operating condition
  • The onboard safety management system which includes steps for regular checks and maintenance of the wastewater treatment plant
  • The chlorine content in the effluent can be checked if applicable
  • Engine Room Operator logs
StandardsEUIMO MARPOL Annex IVUSAAlaska
2012/49/EU
(Inland Waterways)
MPEC
2 (VI)
MPEC
159 (55)
MPEC
227 (64)
USCG 33
CFR 159
Type II MSD
EPA Vessel
General
Permit
USCG 33
CFR 159
Subpart E
GP No.2009
DB0026 Continuous (Underway)
Water Quality
Standards
(AWQS)
Entry into Force20132003201020161975201320002009-152006-13
Applicable StreamsBW & GWBWBWBWBW
(GW in
Great Lakes)
GWBW & GW
Type ApprovalEUIMOIMOIMOUSCGN/AN/A
Applicable ShipsAllAllAllAllAll100-499
>500
Passenger >500Passenger >250
F. Coliform (CFU/100ml)20010010020020201414
TSS (mg/l)1003535 Qi/Qe1503030150150
BOD (mg/l)25502525 Qi/Qe30303030
COD (mg/l)125125125 Qi/Qe
TOC (mg/l)45
pH6-8.56 – 8.56.5-96.5-96.5-8.56.5-8.5
Chlorine (mg/l)0.50.50.010.010.010.01
TN (mgN/l)
Special Area, Pax >12
20 Qi/Qe
or 70%
TP (mgP/l)
Special Area, Pax >12
1 Qi/Qe
or 80%
Ammonia (mgN/l)28 (130)1
Dis. Copper (µg/l)87 (130)3.1
Dis. Nickle (µg/l)43 (43)8.2
Dis. Zinc (µg/l)360 (360)81

REGULATIONS FOR THE PREVENTION OF POLLUTION BY SEWAGE OF INLAND WATERWAYS AND RIVERS BY SHIPS

EU COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2012/49/EU of 10 December 2012

(amending Annex II to Directive 2006/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council laying

down technical requirements for inland waterway vessels) regulates the discharge of wastewater in the Mosel, Rhine and Danube rivers and requires more extensive equipment tests than those required for commercial oceangoing vessels:

MARPOL ANNEX V – REGULATIONS FOR THE PREVENTION OF POLLUTION BY GARBAGE

MARPOL Annex V generally prohibits the discharge of all garbage into the sea which are related to food waste, cargo residues, cleaning agents and additives and animal carcasses. It applies to all ships from merchant to non-commercial and offshore platforms.

Under Annex V, ‘garbage’ includes all kinds of food, domestic and operational waste, all plastics, cargo residues, incinerator ashes, cooking oil, fishing gear, and animal carcasses generated during the normal operation of the ship and liable to be disposed of continuously or periodically.

The Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) has developed and adopted the Guidelines for the implementation of MARPOL Annex V, known as a living document, the latest of which is Resolution MEPC.295(71) (adopted on 7 July 2017)

PORT RECEPTION FACILITIES

MARPOL Annex V also obliges Governments to ensure the provision of adequate reception facilities at ports and terminals for the reception of garbage without causing undue delay to ships, and according to the needs of the ships using them.

GARBAGE SPECIAL AREAS

The Special Areas under Annex V are the sea areas where the adoption of special mandatory methods for the prevention of marine pollution by garbage is required:

  • The Mediterranean Sea
  • The Baltic Sea
  • The Black Sea
  • The Red Sea
  • The Gulfs Area
  • The North Sea
  • The Wider Caribbean Region
  • The Antarctic Area

GARBAGE MANAGEMENT PLAN & GARBAGE RECORD BOOK

All ships of 100 gross tonnage and above, every ship certified to carry 15 persons or more, and every fixed or floating platform, must carry a garbage management plan on board, which includes written procedures for minimizing, collecting, storing, processing and disposing of garbage, including the use of the equipment on board. They must also provide a Garbage Record Book to record all disposal and incineration operations.

POLAR REGIONS

Chapter 3 of MARPOL Annex V makes use of the environment-related provisions of the Polar Code mandatory, and requires that ships trading the Polar Regions must comply with strict environmental provisions specific to the harsh conditions in Polar waters – the Arctic waters and the Antarctic area. 

MEPC.277(70) defines the ‘Description of Garbage’ as follows:

Part I                                                                Part II

A          Plastics                                     J           Cargo residues (non-HME)

B          Food wastes                             K          Cargo residues (HME)

C          Domestic wastes

D          Cooking oil

E          Incinerator ashes

F          Operational wastes

G          Animal carcasses

H          Fishing gear

I           E-waste