Hong Kong Introduces Stricter Rules on Garbage Disposal from Ships

Hong Kong introduced the new Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution by Garbage) Regulation on July 1, giving effect to the latest requirements of the MARPOL Annex V – Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships.

Nine new categories to the definition of ”garbage from ships,” including food wastes, operational wastes, cooking oil, fishing gear and animal carcasses, were added to the new regulation.

The new regulation applies to ships within Hong Kong waters and Hong Kong registered ships wherever they are.

With the repeal of the existing regulation, the new regulation seeks to enact the latest international requirements governing discharge of garbage from ships as prescribed by the IMO.

According to the new regulation, the discharge of any garbage from a ship within Hong Kong waters is prohibited except cargo hold, deck and external surfaces wash water which does not contain cleaning agents and additives harmful to the marine environment.

Every ship of 12 metres or more in length overall must display a Garbage Discharge Placard (GDP) on board to notify crew and passengers of the garbage discharge requirements.

Also, every ship which is of 100 gross tonnage or above, or certified to carry 15 or more persons, must have on board a Garbage Management Plan (GMP). The GMP must provide written procedures for minimizing, collecting, storing, processing and disposing of garbage.

Any ship which is of 400 GT or above and is certified to carry less than 15 persons;  or of 400 GT or above and certified to carry 15 or more persons and engaged in a voyage of more than one hour in duration, must have on board a Garbage Record Book (GRB) to record the handling of shipboard garbage.

Each discharge of garbage into the sea or to a reception facility must be recorded in the GRB and signed by the person in charge of the discharge on the date of the discharge.

Each completed page of the GRB shall be signed by the coxswain of a local vessel, or the master of other vessels.