West of England P&I Club informs about fines that the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has imposed in light of alleged pollution from waste waters discharge. The fines are based on IMO’s sewage treatment systems under MARPOL Annex IV Regulation 11.1.2, where the treatment systems are required to discharge effluent with no visible floating solids and not cause discoloration of the surrounding water.
Yet, the GMA surveyor took samples of the effluent discharge which led to discoloured results, under visual examination and the vessel was fined. The fine imposed reached the US$40,000.
The Club’s local correspondents highlight that although the fines are debatable, the possibility of the fines being successful is low and not economically feasible. In the meantime, the fines could lead to the risk of the vessel being delayed pending the outcome of any such appeal.
The master was not aware that the treatment system was not producing clean effluent. Consequently, the Club advises its Members to be sure that sewage treatment plants are operating as designed, with clear effluent discharge, before arriving in Ghana.
In the possibility that the onboard systems allow, the Members could also retain sewage plant discharge effluent onboard when the vessel is within Ghanaian territorial waters.
Concluding, the Club notes that Members could contact their usual claims team or the Loss Prevention department for additional guidance.
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