Annex V prevention of pollution by garbage from ships (entered into force 31 December 1988) Revised annex V entered into force 1 January 2013.
The purpose of Annex V of the MARPOL convention is to eliminate and reduce the amount of garbage being dumped into the sea from ships.
Garbage from Ships Annex V
Comminuted or ground food wastes (capable of passing through a screen with openings no larger than 25 millimeters) may be discharged not less than 3 nautical miles from the nearest land, with vessel en route.
Other food wastes may be discharged not less than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land, with vessel en route.
The most important feature of the annex is the complete ban on the disposal into the sea of all forms of plastics, because plastics take 450 years to decompose and are harmful to marine life and environment.
The requirements are much stricter in a number of “special areas” of sea
For a long while, many people believed that the oceans could absorb anything that was thrown into them, but this attitude has changed along with greater awareness of the environment.
Many items can be degraded by the seas – but this process can take months or years as the given table shows:
Paper bus ticket : 2- 4 weeks
Cotton cloth : 1-5 months
Rope : 3-14 months
Woolen cloth : 1 year
Painted wood : 13 years
Tin can : 100 years
Aluminium cans : 200-500 years
Plastic bottle : 450 years
Annex V applies to all ships, which means all ships of any type whatsoever operating in the marine environment, from merchant ships, cruise ships, Offshore platforms, Pleasure crafts and Yachts etc.
Definition of garbage from ship
Under annex V of the MARPOL convention, garbage includes all kinds of food, domestic and operational waste, excluding fresh fish, generated during the normal operation of the vessel and liable to be disposed of continuously or periodically.
Garbage is grouped into categories for the purposes of recording on parts I and II of the garbage record book.
Part I: for all garbage other than cargo residues, applicable to all ships
- Food wastes
- Domestic Wastes
- Cooking oil
- Incinerator ashes
- Operational wastes
- Animal carcasses
- Fishing gear
A. Plastics –
Garbage that consists of or includes plastic in any form, including synthetic ropes, synthetic fishing nets, plastic garbage bags and incinerator ashes from plastic products. Garbage under this category is prohibited to be discharged at sea.
B. Food wastes –
Spoiled or unspoiled food substances. Food wastes may be discharged at sea under specific circumstances/requirements.
C. Domestic Wastes –
Garbage generated mainly in the accommodation spaces on board the ship (e.g. drinking bottles, papers, cardboard etc). Garbage under this category is prohibited to be discharged at sea.
D. Cooking Oil –
Edible oil or animal fat used for the preparation or cooking of food. Garbage under this category is prohibited to be discharged at sea.
E. Incinerator ashes –
Ash and clinkers resulting from shipboard incinerators used for the incineration of garbage. Garbage under this category is prohibited to be discharged at sea.
F. Operational wastes –
Solid wastes (including slurries) that are collected on board during normal maintenance or operations of a ship, or used for cargo stowage and handling. Operational wastes also include cleaning agents and additives contained in cargo hold and external wash water that may be harmful to the aquatic environment. Garbage under this category is prohibited to be discharged at sea
G. Animal Carcasses –
Bodies of any animals that are carried on board as cargo and that die or are euthanized during the voyage. Discharge of such wastes permitted at sea under specific circumstances/requirements (refer to the simplified overview of the discharge provisions of the revised MARPOL Annex V developed by IMO).
H. Fishing Gear –
Physical device that may be placed on or in the water or on the sea-bed with the intended purpose of capturing marine or fresh water organisms. Garbage under this category is prohibited to be discharged at sea.
It includes practically anything powered by an electrical source, computers and peripherals, mobile phones, TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines , lamps and lighting devices, batteries, electronic toys etc.
Part II: for cargo residues only applicable to ships carrying solid bulk cargo
- Cargo residues
(non-HME, non- harmful to the marine environment )
- Cargo residues(HME, harmful to the marine environment)
Cargo residues are remnants of any cargo which remain on the deck or in holds following loading or unloading.
Cargo residues which are not harmful to the marine environment have less strict discharge requirements than cargo residues which are harmful
Comminuted Food Waste
Food waste grinder is used grind unprocessed food waste to obtain comminuted (ground) food waste which is able to pass through a screen with openings no greater than 25mm.
Such waste when discharged into sea at a distance more than 12nm from nearest land can easily decompose and disperse in sea without harming the environment.
The term “ from the nearest land” means from the baseline from which the territorial sea of the territory in question is established in accordance with international law.
NOTE: The MARPOL Convention prohibits discharge into the sea of nearly all forms of garbage, including plastic. It does, however, contain a specific exemption for food waste.
Special area is sea area where special mandatory methods for prevention of sea pollution by garbage is required.
These are areas which have particular problems because of (i) heavy maritime traffic or (ii) low water exchange caused by the land locked nature of the sea concerned, where decomposition of garbage by sea is difficult.
The special areas established under annex V are:
- The Mediterranean sea
- The Baltic sea area
- The Black sea area
- The Red sea area
- The Gulfs area
- The North sea
- The wider Caribbean region
- The Antartic Area
Control of Garbage Discharge
In MARPOL Annex V practically all discharges of garbage into the sea are prohibited.
This includes paper, plastic, glass, incinerator ashes, cooking oil, domestic wastes, fishing gear, e-waste, etc
The only discharges allowed are:
Outside special areas:
· ≥3 nm from the nearest land for comminuted/ground food waste (able to pass
Through a screen with openings no greater than 25 mm), vessel en route.
· ≥12 nm from the nearest land for unprocessed food waste, vessel en route.
· ≥12 nm from the nearest land for cargo residues that are not harmful to the marine environment
· Cleaning agents which are not harmful to the marine environment
(contained in cargo hold, deck and external surfaces wash water)
· Animal carcasses (as far as possible from the nearest land and in accordance with IMO guidelines).
Inside special areas:
· ≥12 nm from the nearest land for comminuted/ground food waste
(able to pass through a screen with openings no greater than 25mm), vessel en route.
· ≥12 nm for cargo residues that are not harmful to the marine environment
(only if the ship is not transiting outside the special area between ports and no adequate reception facilities are available at those ports), vessel en route.
· Cleaning agents which are not harmful to the marine environment
(contained in deck and external surfaces wash water).
Disposal requirements of Plastic
The most important feature of the annex is the complete ban on the disposal into the sea if all forms of plastics (bottles, bags, synthetic ropes, cutlery etc). Plastic garbage is disposed to garbage reception facility.
Disposal requirements for expired medicines, expired pyrotechnics, batteries and tube lights
All kind of special waste to be collected separately and disposed ashore.
Exceptions to Annex V- Garbage disposal regulations
Under following circumstances disposal of garbage is allowed:
- The disposal of garbage from a ship necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of a ship and those on board or saving life at sea;
- The escape of garbage resulting from damage to a ship or its equipment provided all reasonable precautions have been taken before and after the occurrence of the damage, for the purpose of preventing or minimizing the escape;
- The accidental loss of synthetic fishing nets, provided that all reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent such loss.
In such cases an entry should be made in the Garbage record book, or in the ship’s official log-book.
Cleaning agents and additives
Cleaning agents and additives contained in hold wash water and deck and external surface wash water are considered “operational wastes” and are classed as garbage under MARPOL Annex V.
Cleaning agent or additive is considered as not harmful for the marine environment when:
- The chemical used is not a “harmful substance” in accordance with the criteria in MARPOL Annex III.
- The Chemical used does not contain any components which are known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR).
To sum up the above, when a ship is discharging chemicals agents from hold wash water to the sea and records such action to the Garbage Record Book then the ship should be able at any time to provide evidence that the cleaning agent or additive used was not harmful to the environment, with reference to safety data sheet from the manufacturer.
In case garbage is mixed with or contaminated by other garbage which have different discharge requirements, the more stringent requirements apply.
For example, if a vessel is sailing within a special area and has mixed comminuted food waste and unprocessed food waste then according to the MARPOL Annex V regulations the vessel should not discharge the food waste mixture to the sea.
Storage of Garbage
Garbage collected from various areas throughout the ship is delivered to designated processing or storage locations
Garbage that must be returned to port for disposal may require long-term storage depending on the length of the voyage.
Garbage is stored in a manner which avoids health and safety hazards.
Most garbage is combustible and there is a great fire risk in the garbage room:
- Closable steel containers are used according to garbage category
- Fire alarm
- Fixed firefighting, water sprinkler
- Fire extinguisher
Requirements in store room for food wastes:
- Lack of oxygen and toxic gases due to food decomposition, therefore good ventilation is required
- Must be easy to clean the deck and other surfaces in the store room
- Good drainage facility
- Non slip deck surface
Garbage Management Plan
All ships of 100 gross tonnage and above and every ship certified to carry 15 persons or more have to carry a Garbage Management Plan.
Garbage management plan contains:
- A list of the particular ship’s equipment to handle garbage eg. Comminutor, compactor , incinerator etc
- Arrangements for the handling of garbage
- Company isntructions
- Designated person in charge of carrying out the Garbage management plan
- Procedures for collecting garbage
- Procedures for processing garbage
- Procedures for storing garbage
- Procedures for disposing of garbage
Garbage Record Book
Garbage record book records all disposal and incineration operations.
The date, time, position of ship, description of the garbage and the estimated amount incinerated or discharged must be logged and signed.
The garbage record book must be kept for a period of two years after the date of the last entry.
Garbage record book is an evidence that the ship personnel are keeping track of the garbage and what happens to it, and may be inspected by port state control.
The Garbage Record book is divided into two parts:
Part I for all garbage other than cargo residues, applicable to all ships.
Part II for cargo residues only applicable to ships carrying solid bulk cargo.
All vessel of 12 metres or more in length are required to display placards which provide information about garbage laws.
The placards are displayed in areas where garbage is generated and in full view of crew and passengers.
Example of placard is shown:
Training of Crew
Training is provided for all crew members who are involved in operating the garbage processing equipment, and handling and disposing of garbage as part of their operational responsibilities.
Training program is reviewed annually and its content are:
- What constitutes garbage.
- The applicable regulations for handling and disposal
Material for training include:
- Video tapes
Port state control
Like similar amendments adopted to the other MARPOL annexes, the regulation makes it clear that Port State Control officers can inspect a foreign- flagged vessel “ where there are clear grounds for believing that the master or crew are not familiar with essential shipboard procedures relating to the prevention of pollution by garbage.
Garbage record book provide an evidence to port state control that the ship personnel are keeping track of the garbage and how and where it is disposed.