No-special-fee waste discharge system in Baltic reduces operational discharges

Research conducted by HELCOM (Helsinki Commission - Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission) has concluded that a three-year 40% decrease in oil discharge incidents in the Baltic Sea, despite an increase in shipping activity, is the result of the use of waste reception facilities in local ports.

Discharge incidents have decreased from a recorded figure of 488 in 1999 to 292 in 2003. This data has been gathered by the use of aerial surveillance and the use of Coordinated Extended Pollution Control Flights (CEPCO). The system currently being used in the Baltic Sea requires the discharge of all waste material, providing it takes up more than 25% of the storage capacity. Additionally, the no-special-fee system covers the whole discharge of waste, with no extra cost.

This differs from the European Directive in which the compulsory discharge requirement has been left up to the Member Sates, and in some cases the individual ports, to define. In requiring the no-special-fee system that contributes a significant part of the waste cost (e.g. 30%), the Directive does not go as far the HELCOM requirements, which cover all ship generated waste discharged ashore.

Further information can be found on the HELCOM website

Contact: Tim Wilkins