DNV GL reminds about the decisions adopted at MEPC 69 which have designated the Baltic Sea as the first MARPOL special area for sewage. The first date of sewage management implementation in this area is 1 June 2019 for new passenger ships. As of 1 September 2017, the MARPOL amendments define a “new passenger ship”, the one contracted on or after 1 June 2019 or delivery of which is on or after 1 June 2021. The classification society has issued a statutory bulletin to further inform about the requirements for sewage treatment and advise passenger ships operating in the Baltic Sea.
In addition to setting the dates for when the Baltic Sea special area shall take effect, the MARPOL amendments which entered into force on 1 September 2017, apply amendments to the ISPP Certificate form to include two options for the MEPC.227(64) type approval standard, with and without section 4.2 (nitrogen and phosphorus removal standard), as section 4.2 is only applicable to passenger ships.
Specifically, the Baltic Sea special area will take effect as follows:
- 1 June 2019 for new passenger ships
- 1 June 2021 for existing passenger ships
- 1 June 2023 for existing passenger ships en route between a port outside the special area and a port located east of 028°10’E4
As of the above dates, passenger ships may no longer discharge untreated sewage into the Baltic Sea. In order to discharge treated sewage, a treatment plant type approved and meeting the standard of Resolution MEPC.227(64) will be required. The alternative is a sewage holding tank with sufficient capacity. Any coastal state bordering a special area is committed to provide adequate facilities for the reception of sewage in ports used by passenger ships without causing undue delay to the ship.
The different IMO type approval standards for sewage treatment plants apply as follows:
- MEPC.2(VI) – Sewage treatment plants installed on ships prior to 1 January 2010
- MEPC.159(55) – Sewage treatment plants installed on ships prior to 1 January 2016 and on or after 1 January 2010
- MEPC.227(64), excluding the standards of section 4.26 – Sewage treatment plants installed on ships on or after 1 January 2016
- MEPC.227(64) – Sewage treatment plants installed on passenger ships intending to discharge treated sewage in a MARPOL Annex IV special area after the effective date of the special area
A sewage treatment plant is only mandatory by MARPOL if discharging sewage within 12 nm from the nearest land and within a special area for passenger ships. Local discharge requirements may still apply even for grey water and treated sewage in some areas.
In conclusion, DNV GL recommends to passenger ships prior to entering the Baltic Sea after the relevant effective dates, to considered the difference alternatives for compliance, including upgrading to a treatment plan as per MEPC.227(64)
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