Onboard Garbage Disposal Guidelines And Regulations


  • The Republic of Marshall Islands has issued comprehensive guidelines on the disposal of garbage onboard ships, adhering to MARPOL Annex V regulations.
  • From food waste to cargo residues and cleaning agents, the guidelines outline specific procedures to minimize pollution and protect marine environments.
  • Understanding these regulations is crucial for maritime operators to ensure compliance and promote environmental sustainability.

The disposal of food wastes varies depending on the ship’s location and distance from land. Specific conditions, such as comminution and distance from land, dictate whether food waste can be discharged into the sea. Additionally, regulations differ for special areas and polar regions, highlighting the importance of understanding geographical considerations.

Cargo Residue Management

Cargo residues, especially those classified as Harmful to the Marine Environment (HME), require special handling and disposal procedures. Ships must declare solid bulk cargoes’ HME status and adhere to strict regulations for washing water containing HME residues. Compliance with MARPOL Annex V and the Polar Code is essential to prevent environmental contamination.

Cleaning Agents and Additives Disposal

The discharge of cleaning agents and additives from cargo hold and deck wash water is subject to stringent regulations, particularly in special areas. Ensuring these substances are not HME and obtaining evidence of environmental safety from producers are vital steps. Compliance with IMO resolutions and safety data sheet requirements is necessary for proper disposal.

Disposal of Biodegradable Materials and Animal Carcasses

While biodegradable products offer an eco-friendly alternative, their disposal at sea is restricted under MARPOL Annex V. Ships must verify permissible materials and dispose of non-compliant items at port reception facilities. Similarly, the disposal of animal carcasses follows specific guidelines, considering factors such as distance from land and Polar Waters restrictions.

By adhering to these guidelines and regulations, maritime operators can effectively manage onboard garbage disposal, minimize environmental impact, and contribute to sustainable shipping practices.

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Source: Safety4sea