AMSA has recently updated marine notice to provide general information on Australia’s implementation of Annex V of MARPOL which refers to regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships to assist shipowners, masters and crews in applying the Annex V discharge requirements.
While the vessel is en route, food wastes that have been comminuted or ground and capable of passing through a screen with openings no greater than 25 mm, can only be discharged 3nm or more from the nearest land. Food waste not comminuted or ground can only be discharged 12 nautical miles or more from the nearest land. Ships operating alongside or within 500 m of a fixed and floating platform cannot discharge food waste, except under very limited circumstances (see Exceptions below).
Additional requirements are in place for ships operating in MARPOL Special Areas and Polar Regions. Refer to MARPOL for more information, noting that there are currently no Annex V Special Areas designated around the Australian mainland. There is, however, an extended ‘nearest land’ boundary around the Great Barrier Reef area. In addition, vessels arriving into Australian waters on an international voyage are subject to Australian Biosecurity requirements and additional restrictions will apply, particularly in relation to food and other waste onboard.
Cargo residues may be left over after loading or unloading. Cargo residues classified as Harmful to the Marine Environment (HME), cannot be discharged into the sea, except under very limited circumstances (see Exceptions below). Such waste must be discharged to an onshore waste reception facility. Cargo residues not classified as HME can be discharged into the sea provided that the ship is en route and the discharge occurs as far as practicable from the nearest land, but not less than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
Cleaning agents or additives
Cleaning agents or additives contained in cargo hold, deck and external surfaces wash water can be discharged into the sea, provided that they are not classified as HME. For cleaning agents and additives, HME substances are those that are identified as marine pollutants in the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code or which meet the criteria in the Appendix of MARPOL Annex III (harmful substances). These criteria can be found in the 2017 Guidelines.
Animal carcasses may only be discharged into the sea when:
- the ship is not in a MARPOL designated special area;
- the ship is en route and the discharge is as far as possible from the nearest land;
- the carcass has been slit or cut so that its thoracic and abdominal cavities are opened or passed
- through a comminuter, grinder, hogger, mincer or similar equipment; and
- the discharge is undertaken in accordance with section 2.12 of the 2017 Guidelines.
When different types of garbage are combined or contaminated by other substances that are prohibited from discharge, the more stringent discharge requirements will apply
There are substantial penalties for MARPOL breaches in the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983, including the power to detain vessels. A detention requires the owner to post an undertaking of considerable financial security.
… AMSA highlighted.