Caralb News • June 08, 2023
MARPOL: International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
MARPOL is the acronym for the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. It is an international treaty established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to prevent and minimize pollution caused by ships in the world’s oceans and seas.
MARPOL consists of six annexes, each addressing a specific type of marine pollution. These annexes cover regulations related to hydrocarbons, noxious liquid substances, harmful substances in packaged form, sewage, garbage, and air pollution from ships. The convention imposes obligations on member states and shipowners/operators to comply with the established standards and regulations.
MARPOL ANNEXES are:
- MARPOL Annex I: Regulates the prevention of pollution from hydrocarbons and other harmful substances in liquid form. Examples of substances covered include crude oil, fuel oil, diesel oil, lubricating oil, and oily bilge water.
- MARPOL Annex II: Focuses on the prevention of pollution from harmful substances in bulk liquid form, such as toxic chemicals. Examples of substances covered include noxious liquid substances, such as acids, pesticides, solvents, and certain industrial chemicals.
- MARPOL Annex III: Deals with the prevention of pollution from harmful substances carried in solid bulk form, such as powdered or granular materials. Examples of substances covered include coal, iron ore, grain, and fertilizers.
- MARPOL Annex IV: Refers to the prevention of pollution from ship wastewater, including domestic wastewater and wastewater from treatment systems. Examples of substances covered include sewage, graywater from sinks and showers, and drainage from medical facilities.
- MARPOL Annex V: Regulates the prevention of pollution from garbage generated by ships, including the disposal of solid waste and plastic waste. Examples of substances covered include food waste, packaging materials, plastic bottles, and fishing gear.
- MARPOL Annex VI: Establishes standards to prevent atmospheric pollution from ships, including exhaust gas emissions and limits on sulfur content in fuels used. Examples of substances covered include sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM) from ship engines.
These annexes impose obligations on member states as well as ship owners and operators to comply with the established standards and regulations. Additionally, the MARPOL convention includes provisions related to control and enforcement, ship inspections, and notification and record-keeping procedures.
It is important to note that each country has the responsibility to implement and enforce the MARPOL regulations in its own national legislation. Therefore, the specific details of how these regulations are applied may vary slightly from one country to another.
Examples of how MARPOL is implemented can include:
- Ships being required to have and regularly update the necessary MARPOL certificates, such as the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPP) or the International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate (ISPP).
- Port authorities conducting inspections to ensure compliance with MARPOL regulations, including checking records, waste management plans, and equipment for handling pollutants.
- Ships being required to segregate and properly dispose of different types of waste, such as oil residues, chemicals, and garbage, in designated reception facilities.
- Ships being subject to monitoring and control of air emissions, including the use of emissions control systems or low-sulfur fuels to meet the requirements of Annex VI.
As a consignee, our role is crucial in ensuring MARPOL compliance. Here’s a simplified procedure:
1️⃣ Before the vessel arrives:
- Collect relevant information about the vessel and its cargo, such as name, flag, cargo type, and storage capacity for potentially polluting substances.
- Verify that the vessel has the necessary MARPOL certificates, such as the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate and the International Pollution Prevention Certificate for the Carriage of Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk.
- Coordinate with port authorities to inform them of the vessel’s arrival and ensure compliance with established requirements and procedures.
2️⃣ During the vessel’s stay in port:
- Hold a pre-arrival meeting to discuss MARPOL requirements with the vessel’s captain.
- Verify the vessel’s records, including wastewater and waste disposal logs, tank cleaning records, and waste disposal documentation.
- Maintain constant communication with the vessel’s captain or representative to ensure proper procedures, such as appropriate waste separation and storage, and coordinate any loading or unloading operations that may have implications for marine pollution.
- Coordinate waste reception services at the port, enabling the vessel to properly dispose of waste and comply with MARPOL regulations.
3️⃣ After the vessel departs:
- Communicate with the port authorities, informing them of the vessel’s departure and providing any required documentation, such as waste delivery records.
- Prepare compliance reports for submission to the relevant authorities, if required, following the established deadlines and formats.
Regarding the restrictions on waste storage capacity in non-European and European ports, as well as the requirement for complete unloading in the case of «For Orders» destinations, it is important to note that the implementation of these regulations can vary depending on national legislation and bilateral agreements between countries. Here is some general information, but I recommend checking the specific regulations of each country and port for precise details.
- Non-European ports: In some cases, when a ship is heading to a non-European port, there may be limitations on the amount of waste it can store onboard. The 50% restriction on waste storage capacity can serve as a preventive measure to ensure that ships unload their waste at appropriate ports where it can be properly managed. However, it is important to consult the specific regulations of the destination port, as there may be variations in limits and requirements.
- European ports: In European ports, ships are generally allowed to retain up to 25% of their waste storage capacity onboard. This is because it is expected that European ports have suitable waste reception systems for proper management. However, once again, it is necessary to verify the specific port regulations, as there may be differences in restrictions and unloading procedures.
- «For Orders» destination: When a ship is designated «For Orders» as its final destination, it is usually expected to unload all of its waste onboard before arrival. This is done to prevent ships from accumulating large amounts of waste throughout their journey and to ensure proper management at specific ports designated for waste reception and treatment.
Specific regulations may apply at each port, such as limitations on waste storage capacity based on the ship’s destination.It is important to remember that these regulations are subject to change, and specific details may vary depending on national and port agreements and regulations. We recommend checking the current regulations of the destination port and consulting with the relevant port authorities to obtain updated and accurate information on waste storage and unloading restrictions.
Mantaining clean seas is vital for our planet’s well-being. The maritime industry takes preventive measures to minimize pollution, including advanced systems, waste management procedures, and emission reduction technologies. Collaboration between stakeholders is key to ensure compliance and promote sustainability. Let’s protect our oceans for a thriving future.
#MARPOL #PollutionPrevention #MarineEnvironment