Garbage produced on board ships needs to be properly disposed as stated by the MARPOL Annex V. Garbage is one of the several reasons which have been responsible for marine pollution at sea.
According to MARPOL Annex V, every vessel of 12m or more needs to display instructions along with placards to inform the ship’s crew and passengers regarding disposal requirements of garbage.
Moreover, it is mandatory that every ship of 400 GWT and above which is certified to carry 15 passengers or more must carry a Garbage Management Plan (GMP) and a Garbage Record Book.
Classes of Garbage on Ships
Garbage on board ships is classified into various categories in order to facilitate easy handling and disposing.
Garbage on ships is classified into the following:
- Floating dunnage, lining, and packing material
- Ground down paper products, rags, glass, metal bottles, and crockery.
- Food waste
- Incinerator ash
- Normal paper products, rags, oily rags, glass, and metal scarp
It is to note that Annex V of MARPOL prohibits disposal of plastic anywhere at the sea. It also restricts disposable of any form of garbage in coastal and “special areas”.
Special Areas under MARPOL Annex V
- Mediterranean Sea
- The Baltic Sea
- The Black Sea
- The Gulf Areas
- Antarctic Area
- The Red Sea Area
- The North Sea
- The Wider Caribbean Region
Garbage Disposal Inside Special Areas
Garbage disposal inside special is totally restricted apart from:
- Food waste to be disposed at more than 12 nautical miles
- In wider Caribbean region food wastes comminuted more than 3 nautical miles
According to MARPOL, ships must not enter the Antarctic area unless they have sufficient capacity for the retention of all garbage onboard and also have arrangements for the discharge of retained garbage at a reception facility after leaving the area. No garbage whatsoever, not even food wastes, should be discharged into the Antarctic area.
Garbage Disposal outside Special Areas
A general overview of garbage disposal outside special areas is provided below:
- Disposal of plastic is totally prohibited.
- Floating material to be disposed at more than 25 nautical miles from the nearest land.
- Food, Crockery, bottles, rags, meals, cans etc. to be disposed at more than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
- Food, crockery etc. can be disposed at more than 4 nautical miles from the nearest land.
According to MARPOL Annex 5, all governments should provide reception facilities at ports and terminals for reception of garbage.
Garbage Management Plan (GMP)
A Garbage Management Plan details procedures for collecting, processing, stowing, and disposing the garbage on board ships. The plan also mentions designated person who is in charge of carrying out the plan.
Garbage Record Book
The Garbage Record Book consists of all the entries that are to be made while disposing or discharging garbage.
Entries to be made in the garbage record book are:
- When garbage is discharge into the sea, reception ashore or other vessels
- When garbage is incinerated
- Accidental and other exceptional discharge of garbage, along with the time of occurrence, port or position of vessel at the time of occurrence, category of garbage and estimation of amount in m3, and the reason of disposal and remarks.
MEPC has also adopted standard specifications of shipboard incinerators which cover the design, manufacture, performance, operation, and testing of incinerators. Read the standards here.
The problems associated with the disposal of cargo hold washing water has also been addressed in Annex V. Know more about it here.
Ship’s crew must be trained in order to reduce the amount of garbage produced and disposed at sea. Find out how ship’s crew can contribute towards reducing production of garbage on board ships.