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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

INTERTANKO Welcomes Special Area Status for North West European Waters under MARPOL

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) has welcomed the entry into force on 1 August of new requirements prohibiting the discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixtures from any oil tanker and any other ship over 400 gross tons in North West European waters. Introduced under the 1997 amendments to the Marine Pollution (MARPOL 73/78) Convention, the requirements making the seas around North West Europe a so-called Special Area will help in the drive to minimise ship-sourced pollution of these waters.

To make the legislation fully effective, coastal states in MARPOL Special Areas must provide adequate reception facilities for dirty ballast and other oily residues from ships. Although there has been an obligation in place for over 20 years for MARPOL signatory states to provide adequate reception facilities for dirty ballast and other oily residues, there are still many ports and terminals worldwide which do not have such installations. In addition, the administration of those facilities that are available can vary widely within individual regions. For many years INTERTANKO has campaigned at IMO for both the provision of adequate reception facilities and appropriate guidelines for the administration of such facilities so that its members' ships would not be forced to discharge oily wastes into the sea in contravention of the requirements laid down by MARPOL.

North West European waters handle a high density of tanker and other shipping traffic, and the introduction of the Special Area status under the 1997 MARPOL amendments represents an important step forward. Another initiative which will help ensure the smooth functioning of reception facilities in the region, and another initiative which INTERTANKO supports, is the European Commission's draft Directive on Reception Facilities for Ship-generated Wastes and Cargo Residues. The proposed Directive, now under final consideration by the European Parliament, places an obligation on EU member governments to provide adequate port reception facilities and recommends a fee system that provides an incentive for ship wastes to be discharged to such facilities. The EC Directive provides a model for governments worldwide seeking to meet their reception facility obligations.

In a related development, at the 43rd Session of IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 43), which was held in London on 28 June-2 July 1999, a draft IMO Assembly resolution requesting MEPC to develop guidelines on the provision and use of port waste reception facilities was agreed. Draft guidelines, which contain information on the provision and improvement of port waste reception facilities; the ongoing management of existing facilities; and the planning and establishment of new facilities, have already been prepared and will be further fine-tuned in the months ahead. INTERTANKO has agreed to help cover the cost of the publication and distribution of these guidelines.

The INTERTANKO membership includes, as Full Members, 270 tanker companies with over 2,000 tankers totaling 172 million tons deadweight. This is equivalent to 75% of all independently owned tanker tonnage worldwide. In addition, there are 295 INTERTANKO Associate Member companies.

For more information contact:

Dagfinn Lunde, Managing Director, INTERTANKO
Phone: +47 22 12 26 50 Mobile: +47 92 49 61 17

Capt. Robert M. Bishop, Manager, Marine and Environment Section, INTERTANKO
Phone: +44 171 623 4311 Mobile: +44 7930 337864