Maritime and Coastguard Agency launches pollution and sewage consultations

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency is seeking your views on the draft Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships) Regulations 2020 (the draft regulations). Among other items, views are required on whether the proposed change to offences and penalties is appropriate, and whether the proposed guidance to accompany the regulations is adequate and in the right format.

The draft regulations will bring UK legislation up to date with the latest requirements of Annex V (Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships) of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

MARPOL is one of a number of conventions adopted by the IMO to which the UK is a signatory. As a signatory, the UK has an obligation to implement any amendments to MARPOL in UK law.

Annex V of MARPOL prohibits the discharge of garbage from ships into the sea, providing exceptions regulating the circumstances under which garbage may be discharged, and the treatment of garbage onboard ships. Consequently, it has great significance for the protection of the environment.

Annex V is regularly amended to protect the environment by improving the measures with which ships must comply. Given the number of amendments to Annex V since the 2008 regulations came into force, and the entry into force of requirements related to the discharge of garbage in polar waters (via the Polar Code), a new set of UK regulations is proposed to ensure that UK domestic legislation reflects current international requirements.

Those who wish to express their views are asked to complete the questionnaire in the consultation document by 30th March.

A second consultation, on the draft Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships) Regulations 2020, is also open until 30th March.

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