MARPOL Annex V: new amendments relating to disposal of cargo residues

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In July 2011, by resolution MEPC.201(62), the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted certain amendments to MARPOL Annex V. Those amendments entered into force on 1 January 2013, causing a certain amount of concern within the shipping and international trade community as to their practical implications. This article is intended to address some of those concerns and to clarify certain aspects of the amendments in relation to the disposal of cargo residues.

Annex V is primarily directed at prohibiting the disposal of garbage at sea and, when it first came into force in 1988, its main focus was to reduce the disposal at sea of plastics, such as drinking water bottles and synthetic nets, by cruise ships and fishing vessels. 

Under previous versions of Annex V, disposal of garbage at sea was generally permitted (with certain exceptions), provided it was disposed of far enough from the nearest land. The new regime sets out a blanket prohibition such that disposal of all garbage at sea is now prohibited except as otherwise provided in Annex V…

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