Stricter controls on garbage disposal beginning 1 January 2013


Published: 24 April 2013

Members should note that as of 1 January 2013, the revised MARPOL Annex V Regulations have come into force.

Under the revised regulations, discharge of all garbage into the sea is now prohibited, unless specifically permitted by regulation 3, 4, 5 or 6. It is required that all vessels have on board a garbage management plan and dispose all garbage in appropriate port reception facilities, where possible. The regulations also require port and terminals to provide such reception facilities. Limited exceptions to these rules are allowed only under emergencies and non-routine situations, as prescribed by regulation 7.

In addition to food waste and cleaning products that have been addressed previously by the MARPOL rules, new definitions for animal carcasses, cooking oil, operational wastes and cargo residues have been introduced by the revision.

The revised regulations require shippers and charterers to properly declare whether cargo residues and any cleaning agents are Harmful to the Marine Environment (HME). Cargo residues are considered HME if they are residues of solid bulk substances which are classified according to the criteria of the United Nations Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (UN GHS). A declaration of the cargo's HME status, must be included in the cargo declaration certificate, which the shipper is obliged to provide the master, as prescribed by s4.2 of the IMSBC code.

Details of the cargo that must be declared by the shipper can be found in the IMSBC code under s1.6, Regulation 4, ss.2 for general cargo and s4.2.2 for solid bulk cargo. This information must be accompanied by a declaration. s4.2.3 of the IMSBC Code provides an example of such a cargo declaration form.

It is important to note that until this information is received by the master, owners are entitled to refuse loading and charterers may be in breach of their charterparty obligations. During such period of default, time can continue to run as hire, laytime or as a claim for damages.

Members are advised to acquaint themselves with the new MARPOL Annex V rules as, although throwing garbage over board has always been unlawful, the revisions under Annex V now give the authorities greater power to do something about it.

In case members have any queries, they are asked to contact the Association for further assistance.