Trieste refutes problems and delays over compulsory waste discharge

Reception facility problems encountered by members at the Port of Trieste have led to an intervention by INTERTANKO on the nature of the port’s implementation of the EU Directive on Port Waste Reception Facilities. Earlier this week, INTERTANKO received a response from the port denying claims that there were problems with compulsory discharge and delays as a result of this new regulatory regime.

INTERTANKO’s note to the Trieste Port Captain outlined some of the concerns being voiced by INTERTANKO members, not least the compulsory discharge of waste which has been leading to delays in vessel movements from the port. Additionally, information from members noted that the port authority was reluctant to accept information regarding facilities at the next port of call and/or the adequate waste storage capacity available for the vessel’s next voyage.

The port’s Safety Navigation Department has responded that in its view the compulsory discharge requirements were in line with both the EU Directive, and the Italian Decree issued on the 24/06/2003 which implements the Directive throughout Italy. It explained that the delivery of waste is compulsory if the next port of call is unknown or if there is no certified evidence that a reception facility is available. Contrary to this, INTERTANKO has received information stating that, regardless of this information being supplied, the compulsory discharge order remained. The port authority states that from some 50 tankers inspected since 12 January 2004, waivers were granted to 24, with 4 vessels being unable to discharge owing to the fact that the waste was deemed ‘unpumpable’. The waivers were issued on the basis that the tankers provided certified evidence of government recognised reception facilities at either the next loading port or technical call.

Based on this reply, and on information received from INTERTANKO members, it appears that there is a grey area as to what is deemed ‘acceptable certified evidence’ and what is ‘unacceptable certified evidence’.

Given the issue of some ships’ ability to incinerate waste and hence preclude the requirement to use the waste facilities, the port notes that the installation of an incinerator is no guarantee that the ship will manage the waste in the correct manner. However, INTERTANKO points out that, within the scope of the EU Directive, the port authorities should be considering a reduction in fees based on such equipment, which can reduce the quantity of ship-generated waste. In such instances, ports must provide common criteria to facilitate the identification of ships with such (pollution reducing) equipment.

On the matter of delays encountered as a result of this discharge requirement, and contrary to feedback received from INTERTANKO’s members, the port says it has no evidence of such delays but does confirm that local oil terminals do not allow the discharge of waste while alongside. On a recent occasion when heavy weather conditions caused the closure of this service, the port notes that a vessel was allowed to sail purely on the evidence of tank storage capacity, volume of waste on board, declared waste production on the next intended voyage and MARPOL equipment found to be in full working order.

Although INTERTANKO is grateful for an open dialogue with the port authority in Trieste, it appears that there is still miscommunication at the user/provider interface. INTERTANKO will be reverting with evidence contradicting the port’s statement with regard to compulsory discharge.

In the meantime, further concerns as to the application of the EU Directive in other European ports have been received by INTERTANKO. We are endeavouring to take these matters up with the various ports and are grateful for any further information from members regarding problems with waste discharge in any European port.

Contact: Tim Wilkins