Statutory alert: MARPOL Annex IV – Passenger ship sewage discharge and treatment requirements for the Baltic Sea Special Area, new implementation dates
Applicability: All shipowners and technical managers
Class News 08/2013 details entry into force of MARPOL Annex IV requirements prohibiting passenger vessels from discharging sewage within the Baltic Sea Special Area, except when operating an approved sewage treatment plant that meets the stringent nitrogen and phosphorus removal standard described in section 4.2 of MEPC.227(64). These requirements were intended to apply to new passenger ships from 1 January 2016. However, a delay in arranging reception facilities means that the Special Area cannot take effect on this date. A further update was advised by Class News 27/2015.
The IMO has adopted an amendment to the MARPOL Convention by resolution MEPC.274(69), and has also adopted a separate resolution MEPC.275(69) for establishing the date the Baltic Sea Special Area shall take effect.
Further revision to MEPC.227(64) for clarifying application was adopted.
The final confirmed dates are as follows.
1. New passenger ships
Applicable to passenger ships that visit the Baltic Sea Special Area for which:
the building contract is placed on or after 1 June 2019, or
in the absence of a building contract, the keel of which is laid (or which is in a similar stage of construction) on or after 1 June 2019, or
the delivery of which is on or after 1 June 2021.
2. Existing passenger ships (not new ships)
Applicable from 1 June 2021 for such ships that visit the Baltic Sea Special Area. This is excluding existing passenger ships en route directly to or from a port located outside the Special Area and to or from a port located east of longitude 28˚10’ E within the Special Area that do not make any other port calls within the Special Area; these will be required to comply with the requirements from 1 June 2023.
3. Ships other than passenger vessels
Sewage treatment systems installed on ships other than passenger vessels on or after 1 January 2016 must still comply with resolution MEPC.227(64)’s performance standard and test requirements (excluding the nitrogen and phosphorus removal standard). Readers are to note that MEPC.227(64) introduced several substantial changes) in sections other than those related to passenger ships. Further clarification on the applicability of resolution MEPC.227(64) was introduced by resolution MEPC.284(70).