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Ship Generated Garbage Collecting, Processing & Storing- Compliance of Garbage Management Plan

Compliance with MARPOL Annex V involves personnel, equipment, and procedures for collecting, sorting, processing, storing, recycling, reusing, and discharging of ship-generated garbage. Economic and procedural considerations associated with these activities include storage space requirements, sanitation, equipment, personnel costs, and port garbage service charges. Collection and separation are to be carried out according to the procedures laid down in ship specific Garbage Management Plan.

Garbage collection points (receptacles) are to be established at several points areas such as the galley, pantry, smoke rooms, all cabins, hospital, bridge, laundry, ships office, ECR, E/R workshop, near the incinerator, purifier room, generator, paint room, etc. Receptacles are to be made of steel or other non-combustible material only. Each receptacle must have a metallic lid. They are to be color-coded ( as in the table above) and marked for their content. The size of the receptacles should reflect the volume and type of waste generated in their vicinity.



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The collected garbage must be taken from their collection points for further processing, using hand, to either (1) the central storage point or (2) near incinerator (only oily stuff). Note that plastic garbage bags are only to be used to store plastic garbage and nothing else. Each department will nominate a person who will be responsible for checking the receptacles and transporting the garbage to the central reception area. Receptacles in each area are to be checked/emptied every alternate day except food waste, which should be every day.

Compactor A machine used onboard to reduce the volume of garbage produced on a ship by compacting it under pressure. Compactors are mainly used aboard passenger ships. Compacting requires storage space onboard sufficient for the cruise's duration or until the ship calls at a port with reception facilities.

The Chief Officer is to ensure that personnel is familiar with the location and nature of the receptacles around the vessel. The officers and crew are to be trained and disciplined to recognize the importance of using the appropriate receptacle when initially disposing off the garbage to avoid creating work which would be required by further sorting at a later stage.

Compliance with the provisions of MARPOL Annex V involves careful planning by the ship's owner and operator and proper execution by crew members. Planning of garbage disposal type appropriately is essential. In a situation where the vessel operates for long periods in restricted areas, with limited capacity to store garbage, planning can prevent the accumulation of garbage that is unhygienic or a fire hazard.

ship generated garbage management
Fig: Waste management onboard.
Image credit: International Register of Shipping

Procedures for processing garbage

Garbage needs to be processed under the Chief Officer's responsibility to ensure that the waste is segregated into the following categories:- The processing devices available onboard the ships are
  1. Commuter: Is to be operated by the ships Cook and not to be used in port or less than 3 miles from the coast (12 miles in Special Areas)
  2. Compactor: Is to be operated by the Messman and is to be used to reduce the volume of waste (and thus disposal costs
  3. Incinerator: Is to be operated by the persons designated and trained in its use. It shall not be used in port and closer to 3 miles from shore. Only oily waste/sludge is to be incinerated if it is type approved from the classification society. Also maybe some non-plastic packaging material can be incenerated
Only food waste that can be legally discharged into the sea outside of any port limit and 12 nautical miles away from any land area is strictly adhered to. In case of any doubt, the vessel must contact the management company for disposal advice.

Procedures for storing garbage

In compliance with the garbage management policy, the Chief Officer requires the segregation of garbage with a view to the following:
  1. Immediate disposal , in accordance with MARPOL
  2. Retention, until the ship has cleared a restricted area
  3. Incineration
  4. Compacting
  5. Special attention ,i.e., batteries, chemicals, medical waste etc.
  6. Recycling
  7. Long term storage
The Chief Officer should ensure that all waste is stored safely and hygienically. Food waste and associated garbage which may decompose during storage should be sealed in airtight bags (but biodegradable unless being landed) Disinfection and pest control, both preventive and remedial, should be carried out regularly in garbage storage areas. It is vital that all garbage is stored in covered, leak-proof containers for the sake of hygiene and safety and to avoid a penalty in port.

Ship staff training and awareness

The Chief Officer is responsible for training and advising new crew members on the requirements and procedures relating to garbage management onboard the vessel, including collection, processing, storage, and discharging. It is a requirement of their Shipboard Familiarization.

Ship staff must be trained before operating incinerators, comminutors or compactors, etc. All such training also to be recorded.

The placards onboard explain all permitted discharges. It must be printed and displayed in prominent places. Placards in English, and the most appropriate crew language, should be displayed

The procedures explained above for handling and storing of ship-generated garbage may vary depending on factors such as the type and size of the ship, the area of operation (e.g., special area, distance from the nearest land, ice-shelf or fast ice), shipboard garbage processing equipment and storage space, several crew or passengers, duration of the voyage, and regulations and reception facilities at ports of call.

However, because of the charge involved with the different garbage handling options, it is economically advantageous first to limit the amount of material that may become garbage from being brought on board the ship. Besides, food waste that is eligible for discharge at sea should be separated from the other garbage. Proper management of containers and packing materials that are coming on board can minimize shipboard storage space requirements and enable the efficient transfer of retained garbage to port reception facilities for proper handling (i.e., recycling, reuse) or land-based disposal.


Related Information

Garbage management rules

Garbage management for ships - disposal process

Pollution by other harmful substances & harmful packaged goods

Pollution by garbage [ Marpol annex V ]

Pollution by sewage [ Marpol annex IV ]

Pollution of air [ Marpol annex VI ]

Prohibition on use of harmful (TBT) anti-fouling paints

Pollution by ballast water

Prevention of pollution while carryiung out overboard maintenance

Environment friendly purchasing

Decommissioning / ship recycling

Environmental aspects

How to make environment friendly purchasing

Environmental awareness

Environmental management program

Environmental management system

What is planned maintenance system and how to use it ?....






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