Revised ship sewage regulations adopted at IMO meeting
Protection Committee (MEPC) - 51st session: 29 March to 2 April 2004
Revised regulations for the prevention of pollution of the oceans by sewage
from ships have been adopted by IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee
(MEPC), which met for its 51st session from 29 March to 2 April 2004.
The Committee also approved in principle the designation of three new Particularly
Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs). Other important items on the agenda included follow-up
to the adoption of the new Ballast Water Convention, air pollution and ship
MARPOL 73/78 - Annex IV
The revised MARPOL Annex IV containing regulations for the prevention of pollution
by sewage from ships was formally adopted and is expected to enter into force
on 1 August 2005.
contains a set of regulations regarding the discharge of sewage into the sea,
ships' equipment and systems for the control of sewage discharge, the provision
of facilities at ports and terminals for the reception of sewage, and requirements
for survey and certification. It also includes a model International Sewage
Pollution Prevention Certificate to be issued by national shipping administrations
to ships under their jurisdiction.
Annex will apply to new ships engaged in international voyages, of 400 gross
tonnage and above or which are certified to carry more than 15 persons. Existing
ships will be required to comply with the provisions of the revised Annex IV
five years after the date of its entry into force. The Annex requires ships
to be equipped with either a sewage treatment plant or a sewage comminuting
and disinfecting system or a sewage holding tank.
of sewage into the sea will be prohibited, except when the ship has in operation
an approved sewage treatment plant; or is discharging comminuted and disinfected
sewage using an approved system at a distance of more than three nautical miles
from the nearest land; or is discharging sewage which is not comminuted or disinfected
at a distance of more than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
to MARPOL 73/78 - Annex V
Amendments to the Appendix to MARPOL Annex V on Prevention of pollution by garbage
from ships were adopted. The amendments relate to the recording of the disposal
of cargo residues in the Garbage Record Book.
Revised MARPOL Annex I and Annex II approved
The MEPC gave final approval to the revised texts of MARPOL Annex I and Annex
II with a view to adoption at MEPC 52 in October 2004, with an expected entry
into force date of 1 January 2007. Both Annexes have been updated and include
amendments adopted in recent years.
IBC Code approved
The MEPC approved proposed amendments to the International Bulk Chemical Code
(IBC Code), for adoption at MEPC 52. The amendments revise and update the Code
and reflect the approved changes to MARPOL Annex II.
The MEPC approved, with a view to adoption at MEPC 52, an MEPC resolution on
Guidelines for the transport of vegetable oils in deep tanks or in independent
tanks specially designed for the carriage of such vegetable oils on board dry
cargo ships. The guidelines have been developed to allow general dry cargo
ships that are currently certified to carry vegetable oil in bulk to continue
to carry these vegetable oils on specific trades.
and protection of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas
The MEPC approved in principle the designation of three new Particularly Sensitive
Sea Areas (PSSAs):
Baltic Sea area, except Russian waters;
Galapagos Archipelago (Ecuador); and
waters of the Canary Isles archipelago (Spain).
of the three PSSAs stated that they would submit detailed proposals for Associated
Protective Measures (APMs) linked to the PSSAs to the Sub-Committee on Safety
of Navigation (NAV) in 2005 for subsequent consideration by the MEPC.
When an area is approved as a PSSA, specific additional measures can be used
to control the maritime activities in that area, such as routeing measures;
mandatory ship reporting systems; and Vessel Traffic Services (VTS).
There are six existing PSSAs: the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (designated
a PSSA in 1990); the Sabana-Camagüey Archipelago in Cuba (1997); Malpelo
Island, Colombia (2002); the Florida Keys, United States (2002); the Wadden
Sea, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands (2002); and Paracas National Reserve, Peru
approved, in principle, that the current PSSA Guidelines would be reviewed,
provided that there are specific proposals, as well as justification, submitted
to a future session of the Committee.
on bioremediation, revised manual on chemical pollution adopted
The MEPC adopted a guidance document on bioremediation developed by the Oil
Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC)/OPRC-HNS (Hazardous
and Noxious Substances) Technical Group.
is the use of biological processes to accelerate the removal of contaminants
from the environment and is seen as the "environmentally friendly"
response to an oil spill since it converts oil into harmless products such as
carbon dioxide and water.
in the document provide users with clear criteria to enable them to evaluate
the circumstances in which to consider the use of bioremediation for shoreline
clean-up. The document includes a summary of the most important bioremediation
processes and decision-making criteria. The MEPC also adopted the revised Manual
on Chemical Pollution - Section 2: Search and Recovery of Packaged Goods Lost
Following the adoption in February this year of the International Convention
for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, the MEPC
agreed a plan of action for the development of guidelines, in preparation for
implementation of the Convention, including: Guidelines for approval of ballast
water management systems; Guidelines for sampling of ballast water and analysis
for port State control; Ballast water management plan guidelines; Guidelines
for ballast water exchange (operational); Guidelines for ballast water exchange
design and construction standards; Guidelines for sediments reception facilities;
Guidelines for sediment control on ships; and other guidelines.
The MEPC considered further work on ship recycling following the adoption by
the IMO Assembly, in November 2003, of resolution A.962(23) on IMO Guidelines
on Ship Recycling.
for inter-agency technical assistance was agreed and the MEPC approved the terms
of reference for a Joint International Labour Organization (ILO)/IMO/Basel Convention
Working Group. The Group will undertake a comprehensive initial examination
of the respective guidelines adopted by the three Organizations, with a view
to identifying any possible gap, overlap, or ambiguity. Besides the IMO guidelines,
the Group will examine the Technical Guidelines for the Environmentally Sound
Management of the Full and Partial Dismantling of Ships, adopted by the Sixth
Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Basel Convention and Safety and
Health in Shipbreaking: Guidelines for Asian countries and Turkey, developed
invited the ship building and recycling States and the shipping industry and
other stakeholders to submit any information on the practical implementation
of the provisions of the Guidelines with regard to the identification of potentially
hazardous materials on board ships and the preparation of the relevant inventory.
A Correspondence Group was established to work on implementation issues relating
to the guidelines, including development of a ship recycling plan for each ship
to be recycled.
pollution rules nearing entry into force
The MEPC noted that the international rules on prevention of air pollution by
ships in Annex VI of MARPOL 73/78 (in the 1997 protocol to the MARPOL convention)
could enter into force before the end of 2005. As of 29 March 2004, the 1997
Protocol had been ratified by 13 States representing more than 54% of the gross
tonnage of the world's merchant shipping and ratification by only two more States
is required to satisfy the entry into force conditions (entry into force is
12 months after the Protocol has been accepted by at least 15 states with not
less than 50% of world merchant shipping tonnage).
welcomed the statements made by Cyprus, Japan and Poland that their national
procedures for the ratification of the protocol of 1997 to MARPOL 73/78 have
reached the final stage and that they would be able to deposit their instrument
of ratification for Annex VI before the end of 2004.
IMO - the International
Maritime Organization - is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility
for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution
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