Ghana Maritime Authority Fines Ships for Sewage Pollution

The Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) has imposed a number of fines in Takoradi related to pollution from discharged wastewaters in the past few months, marine insurer West of England said. 

Illustration. Image Courtesy: Pxhere under CC0 Creative Commons license

In all cases, such discharges were from the International Maritime Organization-approved sewage treatment systems.

These systems are, under MARPOL Annex IV Regulation 11.1.2, required to discharge effluent with no visible floating solids, without causing discoloration of the surrounding water.

However, when the GMA surveyor took samples of the effluent discharge, this was found to be discolored under visual examination. Consequently, vessels were fined accordingly.

The fines have been in the region of USD 40,000.

As informed by West of England, masters had been unaware that the onboard treatment system was not producing clean effluent.

Therefore, the marine insurer has advised its members to ensure that sewage treatment plants are operating as designed, with clear effluent discharge, prior to arrival in Ghana.

If onboard systems allow, vessels may also consider retaining sewage plant discharge effluent onboard when they are within Ghanaian territorial waters.