Statutory Alert: Change of practice for HME cargoes and guidance for port reception facility providers and users Applicability: All shipowners and managers, port managers and masters
Discharges of 'harmful to the marine environment' (HME) cargo residue and cargo hold washing water overboard are no longer permitted. This follows the expiration on 31 December, 2015, of circular MEPC.1/Circ.810 on Adequate Port Reception Facilities for Cargoes Declared as Harmful to the Marine Environment under MARPOL Annex V. The circular had provided a temporary measure of permitting HME discharges outside the MARPOL Annex V Special Areas, provided certain conditions were met.
The IMO considered a proposal to extend the application of MEPC.1/Circ.810 at its 69th Marine Environment Protection Committee session in April 2016 (MEPC 69), but did not approve it. Governments were invited to report to the IMO any alleged inadequacies of port reception facilities and make submissions to the MEPC to bring the issue to the attention of all parties concerned, as the aim is for more ports/terminals to fulfil their obligation under MARPOL Annex V to provide adequate facilities.
Masters are reminded of the MARPOL Annex V regulation 4.1.3 and 6.1.2 prohibition of HME discharges and are urged to report inadequacies to their flag state using the Format for Reporting Alleged Inadequacies of Port Reception Facilities contained in MEPC.1/Circ.834, Appendix 1.
IMO guidance for port reception facility providers and users MEPC.1/Circ.834, Consolidated Guidance for Port Reception Facility Providers and Users, brings together the Guide to Good Practice for Port Reception Facility Providers and Users (MEPC.1/Circ.671/Rev.1) and four more circulars related to port reception facilities. This consolidated guidance covers all of the MARPOL Annexes in one document and is intended to be a practical users' guide for port reception facility providers and ships' crew who seek to deliver MARPOL residues/wastes ashore.
MEPC 69 approved an updated version of the current IMO Comprehensive Manual on Port Reception Facilities, which aims to assist party state authorities and governments who wish to implement reception facilities under MARPOL. This will be published as Port Reception Facilities – How To Do It, 3rd Edition, 2016, and, in addition to covering MARPOL wastes and residues (Annexes I, II, IV, V and to VI), it also includes practical advice for ballast water sediments and waste from the application or removal of anti-fouling systems.