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General guidance for prevention of marine pollution by garbage

The impact of Garbage Pollution in the marine environment is more than Aesthetic. Other than spoiling coastlines, it causes severe harm to marine life by ensnaring or ingestion, amongst other things.

Annex V (Garbage from Ships)

This Annex entered into force on 31st December 1988. It contains regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage which apply to all ships.

They prohibit the disposal into the sea of all plastics, including but not limited to synthetic ropes, synthetic fishing nets and plastic garbage bags.

They restrict the disposal into the sea of garbage, which includes all kinds of victuals, and domestic and operational waste generated during the normal operation of the ship.

The disposal into the sea of the following garbage shall be made as far as practicable from the nearest land, but in any case is prohibited if the distance from the nearest land is less than: The Master shall ensure that shipboard garbage is disposed in accordance with MARPOL 73/78: Annex V.



Annex V totally prohibits the disposal of plastics anywhere into the sea, and severely restricts discharges of other Garbage from ships into coastal waters and "Special Areas".

The dumping of any waste overboard is in total contradiction to all company policy and procedures as well as international conventions. It shows total disrespect and disregard towards the environment in which we all live and to fellow shipmates whose livelihoods depend upon us adhering rigidly to the regulations.

Quite rightly, there is a general worldwide attitude of zero tolerance to environmental incidents. The USA in particular has been aggressive in leading the way and in fining polluters. Non compliance is not an option .We are also now aware of increased interest by USCG PSC inspectors on vessels with particular focus on garbage management procedures and records, and on the oil record book.

The impact on company reputations is significant and could be highly damaging. If found guilty, it could be that one person's seemingly mindless actions have put his own freedom in jeopardy and also put both Owners and management at risk of substantial penalties and probationary periods.

We now require , as a matter of great urgency, to review garbage disposal procedure with all staff onboard, and ensure that all aspects of international garbage management system and all other environmental controls are in order and clearly understood by everyone.


Garbage Management Plan

A “Garbage Management Plan” issued to each ship. It details the procedures for collection, segregation, processing, storage and disposal of all kinds of ship generated garbage.

Even garbage that is not generated by ship’s complement has to be accorded the same treatment, for example, that left around on deck by stevedores.

The “Chief Officer” is the person responsible for garbage management on board. A Garbage Record Book shall be maintained & records kept for Two years.

Ships may be equipped with incinerators, compactors, comminuters or other devices for garbage processing on board. This type of equipment has a number of benefits: •makes disposal of certain types of garbage possible at sea •reduces space required for storage on board •makes it easier to offload garbage at a port.

Garbage should be processed under the following categories:
•plastic
•dunnage or packing materials
•ground paper products, rags, glass, metal, bottles, etc.
•food waste
•waste from incineratorAnnex I (Cargo residues), Annex II (Noxious liquid substances) and Annex III (Harmful substances in packed form)
•Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
•Garbage containing heavy metals (used in coatings, paints, packaging, etc.)
•Refined petroleum products containing halogen compounds
•batteries and used chemical solutions.
Shipboard incinerators installed on or after 1 January 2000 are required to comply with IMO specification MEPC 76 (40).

Existing incinerators installed before 1 January 2000 are acceptable provided they are type approved in accordance with MEPC 59 (33).

Existing incinerators that are not type approved may still be used, however they must not be used for the incineration of Polyvinyl Chlorides (PVCs) Incineration of the following is prohibited in all incinerators: Annex I (Cargo residues), Annex II (Noxious liquid substances) and Annex III (Harmful substances in packed form)

•Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
•Garbage containing heavy metals (used in coatings, paints, packaging, etc.)
•Refined petroleum products containing halogen compounds.

To ensure a quick transfer of ship garbage to port reception facilities, ships should make arrangements for garbage reception in advance.

•Garbage to be disposed of at port may need long-term storage.
•Garbage which can be discharged overboard may need short-term storage.
•Garbage should be stored in a way which avoids health and safety hazards.

•Sufficient storage space and equipment should be supplied (cans, drums, bags, other containers). If space is limited, vessel operators are encouraged to install compactors or incinerators.

•Food waste should be stored in tightly covered containers.


Related articles

  1. Marpol annex I - Preventing pollution by oil -Notes on Oily Water Separators


  2. Marpol Annex II -Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk


  3. Marpol annex III -Pollution by other harmful substances & harmful packaged goods


  4. Marpol annex IV - Prohibition on Sewage Discharge


  5. Marpol annex V - Pollution by garbage


  6. Marpol annex VI - Pollution by air


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


  8. Pollution by ballast water


  9. Prevention of pollution while carrying out overboard maintenance


  10. Environment friendly purchasing


  11. Environmental awareness


  12. Burning of heavy fuel oil & diesel oil - Environmental impacts




Preventing air pollution various guideline: Safety equipments check points on board cargo ships

Garbage management plan for cargo ships





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