IMO has recognized that provision of reception facilities is crucial for effective MARPOL implementation, and the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has strongly encouraged Member States, particularly those Parties to the MARPOL Convention as port States, to fulfil their treaty obligations on providing adequate reception facilities. Governments have also been urged to respond to a questionnaire on alleged inadequacy of port reception facilities (MEPC/Circ.417) and to report their experiences to MEPC 53 with the aim of identifying problem areas and developing a future action plan.
At its 53rd session in July 2005, the MEPC approved a Revised consolidated format for reporting alleged inadequacy of port reception facilities and an MEPC circular on Waste reception facility reporting requirements.
At its 54th session in March 2006, the MEPC emphasized the importance of adequate reception facilities in the chain of implementation of the MARPOL Convention, and stated that the policy of "zero tolerance of illegal discharges from ships" could only be effectively enforced when there were adequate reception facilities in ports. Therefore the Committee urged all Parties to the MARPOL Convention, particularly port States, to fulfil their treaty obligations to provide reception facilities for wastes generated during the normal operation of ships. The Committee also agreed to develop a port reception facility database (PRFD) as a module of the IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS).
Action plan to tackle the inadequacy of port reception facilities
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at its 55th session in October 2006 approved an Action Plan to tackle the alleged inadequacy of port reception facilities - seen as a major hurdle to overcome in order to achieve full compliance with MARPOL. The Plan was developed by the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) and it is hoped that its outcome will contribute to the effective implementation of the MARPOL Convention and promote quality and environmental consciousness among administrations and shipping.
The Plan contains a list of proposed work items to be undertaken by IMO with the aim of improving the provision and use of adequate port reception facilities, including items relating to reporting requirements; provision of information on port reception facilities; identification of any technical problems encountered during the transfer of waste between ship and shore and the standardization of garbage segregation requirements and containment identification; review of the type and amount of wastes generated on board and the type and capacity of port reception facilities; revision of the IMO Comprehensive Manual on Port Reception Facilities; and development of a Guide to Good Practice on Port Reception Facilities. With regard to regional arrangements, the Committee agreed to recognize them as a means to provide reception facilities in light of the MARPOL requirements, taking into account the benefit of having such regional arrangements in place.
- Development of a standard Advance Notification Form and standard Waste Delivery Form: In some ports, for logistical reasons, the providers of waste reception facilities may require advance notification from the ship of its intention to use facilities. Further information on this requirement is provided in section 4 of the Guidelines for ensuring the adequacy of port waste reception facilities, adopted by resolution MEPC.83(44). The development of a standard Advance Notification Form would enhance the smooth implementation and uniform application of this requirement, thus minimizing the risk of a ship incurring delay. Also, a standard Waste Delivery Notification form should be developed in order to provide uniformity of records throughout the world.
• Information on port reception facilities
- Monitoring/evaluation/adjustment of the Port Reception Facilities module of GISIS (http://gisis.imo.org/Public/), which has the potential to assist in improving reception facilities if it is used routinely by the industry and is populated with records of reception facilities worldwide and contact points for flag and coastal States.
- Review of the outcome of the waste reception facility auditing/assessment procedure. The Guidelines for ensuring the adequacy of port waste reception facilities (resolution MEPC.83(44)) encourage States to make use of an assessment form to conduct regular assessments of waste reception facilities in their ports and to advise IMO of the outcome of such assessments, including any inadequacies of port reception facilities, as well as any technical co operation assistance that may be needed to address those inadequacies.
- Enhancement of the availability of relevant information to users of port reception facilities: The “Guidelines for ensuring the adequacy of port waste reception facilities” recommend the development and implementation of a port waste management plan, which should provide, inter alia, information to users of the location, cost and procedures for using the facilities. Conveying information to ships on the relevant provisions of this plan, through appropriate means such as the PRFD, would enhance its effectiveness and improve the adequacy of waste reception services and communication and co-operation between the facility users and the providers. The Sub‑Committee should consider first what is the relevant information that needs to be extracted from waste management plans and uploaded in the PRFD.
- Identification of any technical problems encountered between ship and shore-based transfer of waste: The identification of any technical problems encountered during the ship-to-shore transfer of wastes (e.g. non-standard hoses, manifolds) and the consideration of any possible solutions would enhance the provision of adequate waste reception services.
- Standardization of garbage segregation requirements and containment identification: It has been reported that the requirements for garbage segregation and waste receptacles identification may vary from port to port at national and international level. The establishment of a standardized methodology on this issue on board and at shore would ensure harmonization of the various requirements and facilitate the smooth delivery of garbage to the reception facilities.
• Types and amount of wastes
- Review of type and amount of wastes generated on board: New ship design and construction as well as new waste management technologies and equipment installed on board have an effect on the type and amount of ship-generated waste. A review of the type and amount of wastes generated on board would allow better calculation of the ship’s needs for delivery of wastes ashore.
- Review of the type and capacity of port reception facilities: Following the completion of the above work item on the Review of Type and Amount of Wastes Generated Onboard, a review of the type and capacities of port reception facilities should follow with the aim of adjusting the capacities and the technical capabilities of port reception facilities to the ship’s requirements. Also, should consider the question of how to deal with waste downstream from reception facilities in developing countries, where ship generated waste can often be a burden to physically restricted land systems.
- Development of a uniform methodology for calculating the required capacity and technical capability of a port reception facility: The use of a uniform methodology for the estimation of the required capacity of a port reception facility, which would take into account the results of the above two work items on the Review of Type and Amount of Wastes and on the Review of the Type and Capacity of Port Reception Facilities, would be of great assistance in the design of new facilities or the upgrade of existing ones.
• Regulatory matters
- Development of Guidelines for establishing regional arrangements for reception facilities. MEPC 55 agreed to recognize regional arrangements as a means to provide reception facilities and requested Member States to provide their views to future sessions of the Committee on how these regional arrangements could be better institutionalized.
- Revision of the IMO Comprehensive Manual on Port Reception Facilities: The current edition of the Manual was issued in 1999. Therefore, it should be updated to include amendments to legislation and new developments in the area of port reception facilities.
- Development of a Guide of Good Practice on Port Reception Facilities: A Guide to Good Practice on Port Reception Facilities should be developed with the aim of providing guidance and easy reference to good practices related to the use and provision of port reception facilities as well as a list of applicable regulations and guidelines.
• Technical co-operation assistance
- Development of assistance and training programme: A programme of assistance should be designed, where required, to support developing countries in the enhancement of their institutional and human capacities for improved and effective port reception facilities. Mobilization of in-kind support for the provision and management of port reception facilities, supported by a training programme to be delivered at national or regional levels.
Port reception facilities database
The Internet-based Port Reception Facility Database (PRFD)
went live to the public on
The circulars and the database are aimed at improving the rate of reporting alleged inadequacies of reception facilities so that the problem can be tackled more effectively.