Monday, December 24, 2012

Notice to Mariners: More penalties for trash dumping

Environmental restrictions for boaters will tighten up with the coming of the New Year 2013, and from two different directions.

Racing sailors will be governed by the new Racing Rules of Sailing 2013-2016 which introduce a new Fundamental Environmental Principle and a new Rule 55, which prohibits intentional dumping of trash overboard. Someone who casually throws a water bottle or lunch sack overboard could face being protested and disqualified from a race -- or such penalty as a group organizing a regatta might wish to impose.

Organizing authorities -- i.e., yacht and sailing clubs who run sailboat races -- will need to think about how they handle this new change. This is one of the rules that can be changed by sailing instructions, so a club could choose to use alternative penalties or limit who can protest a boat under the new rule.


In addition, the actual laws that regulate offshore dumping of garbage are being changed, and made more restrictive. It used to be the case that dumping was allowed except where prohibited; now the new presumption is that dumping is prohibited, except when allowed.

Some sailors have been discussing changes in the MARPOL ANNEX V limitations on offshore disposal of waste that will take effect with this new year because of implementation of new international treaties.

One question I've asked to people who may know more:

Will these changes have an effect upon how NASBLA-trained instructors (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, who set standards for boating safety classes) teach boaters to comply with environmental responsibilities when offshore and will this require changes in the content of NASBLA-approved boater safety courses and the dumping restriction placards that some boats display?

I'm sorry not to have more authoritative links, but here's what I've seen:

Highlights from the Antigua letter that I've tried to glean are as follows:
The latter says that the new definition of garbage "considerably extends the scope of what comes under the requirements in Annex V. "

" “Discharge of all garbage into the sea is prohibited, except as provided otherwise in regulations 4,5,6 and 7 of this Annex”. (Regulation 3(1)).

This is a different approach from the previous version of the Annex which took a more permissive approach listing what could be discharged and assuming that discharge was normal."

And: Regulation 4 "adds new limits on the disposal of food wastes and includes restrictions on discharge of cargo residues." as well as adding some very large "Special Areas" have been defined where rules are even tighter.

More (mostly commercial) vessels will have to have garbage management plans.

New placards might look something like:

(begin quote)
The placards previously required in Regulation 9 are still required but a new approved format is included in the Guidelines for Implementation. The sample placards in the guidelines are the following for most applications:

For fixed or floating platforms and ships operating within 500 m of them the following format is approved.
Discharge of all garbage into the sea is prohibited except provided otherwise

The MARPOL Convention and domestic law prohibit the discharge of most garbage from ships. Only the following garbage types are allowed to be discharged and under the specified conditions.

Outside Special Areas designated under MARPOL Annex V:

* Comminuted or ground food wastes (capable of passing through a screen with openings no larger than 25 millimetres) may be discharged not less than 3 nautical miles from the nearest land.
* Other food wastes may be discharged not less than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
* Cargo residues classified as not harmful to the marine environment may be discharged not less than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
* Cleaning agents or additives in cargo hold, deck and external surfaces washing water may be discharged only if they are not harmful to the marine environment.
* With the exception of discharging cleaning agents in washing water, the ship must be en route and as far as practicable from the nearest land.

Inside Special Areas designated under MARPOL Annex V
* More stringent discharge requirements apply for the discharges of food wastes and cargo residues; AND
* Consult Annex V and the shipboard garbage management plan for details.

For all areas of the sea, ships carrying specialized cargos such as live animals or solid bulk cargoes should consult Annex V and the associated Guidelines for the implementation of Annex V.

Discharge of any type of garbage must be entered in the Garbage Record Book
Violation of these requirements may result in penalties.
(end quote)


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