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Continued application of the provisions of MEPC.1/Circ.810 is advised until further action is taken by the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee.

Gard has received a number of enquiries concerning the expiry on 31 December 2015 of IMO circular MEPC.1/Circ.810, dealing with port reception facilities for wash water from holds containing cargoes classified as harmful to the marine environment (HME). We can advise Members and clients that the subject matter has been discussed at the IMO and will be further considered at MEPC 69 in April 2016. And, as far as Gard is aware, IMO member states have been advised to continue to apply the provisions of MEPC.1/Circ.810 pending any action taken by the MEPC.

This means that, until further notice, wash water from cargo holds having previously contained solid bulk cargoes classified as HME may be discharged outside special areas, provided that:

  • based upon the information received from the relevant port authorities, the master determines that there are no adequate reception facilities either at the receiving terminal or at the next port of call;
  • the ship is en route and as far as practicable from the nearest land, but not less than 12 nautical miles;
  • before washing, solid bulk cargo residue is removed, and bagged for discharge ashore, as far as practicable and holds are swept;
  • filters are used in the bilge wells to collect any remaining solid particles and minimise the amount of solid residue discharged; and
  • the discharge is recorded in the Garbage Record Book and the flag State is notified using the Revised Consolidated Format for Reporting Alleged Inadequacies of Port Reception Facilities (MEPC.1/Circ.469/Rev.2).

As Members and clients are well aware, MARPOL Annex V prohibits the discharge of almost any kind of garbage at sea. It is therefore important that the crew is familiar with the current garbage disposal requirements and have a clear understanding of the conditions permitting certain discharges. IMO’s simplified overview of restrictions and discharge provisions may be used as a quick reference guide for this purpose.

Other Gard Updates related to MARPOL Annex V issues: