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Further amended MARPOL Annex V - more rigorous requirements for recording of waste management offshore

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Annex V, which applies to ships as well as fixed and floating offshore installations, was further amended recently to reflect modifications to the management and record-keeping of garbage on board a vessel. The changes came into force on 01 March 2018.

The new requirements

In accordance with Annex V, garbage disposal must be recorded in garbage management plans and record books. Annex V also requires placards to be put up notifying passengers and crew of the disposal requirements. Garbage includes all kinds of food, domestic and operational waste, all plastics, cargo residues, incinerator ashes, cooking oil, fishing gear and animal carcasses generated during the normal operation of the vessel.

The recent amendments introduced a new form of the Garbage Record Book (GRB) which can be found at appendix II of the amended Annex. The book is now divided into two parts and includes e-waste (that is, electrical and electronic equipment used in normal operations): Part I deals with discharge of garbage from all types of vessels and Part II focuses on cargo residues from vessels carrying solid bulk. The GRB discharge table has been revised to include a record of both incineration start and stop date, time and position. There is also a new table to report exceptional discharge or loss of garbage.

Another change of importance is the need for vessels to retain on board, for at least two years, all of the receipts obtained from reception facilities.

The 2012 Guidelines for the implementation of MARPOL Annex V have also been replaced by new 2017 Guidelines.

Background

The MARPOL Convention was adopted in November 1973 to help prevent pollution from ships in the marine environment. It was the result of the realisation that in some areas, most of the pollution at sea comes not from onshore but from passing ships which dispose of rubbish overboard. The Convention was modified a few years later by the 1978 MARPOL Protocol. The combined instrument came into force in 1983 and includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimising pollution from ships, both accidental and arising from routine operations. It currently has six Annexes, including Annex V on the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage (which has been in force since December 1988).

In October 2006, the Marine Environment Protection Committee of IMO established a working group to develop a comprehensive review of Annex V to MARPOL. This resulted in a revised Annex V which entered into force in January 2013.

Annex V applies to all ships of any type operating in the marine environment and therefore also applies to offshore floating and fixed platforms, including drilling rigs, production platforms and FPSOs.

Under Regulation 4, the disposal of any materials regulated by Annex V (apart from some ground food waste) is prohibited from fixed or floating platforms engaged in the exploration, exploitation and associated offshore processing of sea-bed mineral resources and from all other ships when alongside or within 500m of such platforms.

For further details on the MARPOL update, please see a recent article by our shipping colleagues which can be found here

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