Safe harbour

Knowledge is key to MARPOL compliance for bulk shippers, warns WSS

In the wake of new regulations, Wilhelmsen Ships Services (WSS) says bulk owners and operators must pay as much attention to the products used to clean their cargo holds as the holds themselves.
Press release | (Updated )

The global provider of products and services to the shipping industry is urging firms to heed details included in the revised MARPOL Annex V Resolution MEPC.201(62), relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, which came into force on 1 January 2016.

A key element is the Annex ‘garbage regulation’, stipulating that discharge of garbage into the sea is prohibited, unless specifically allowed, and that every discharge must be noted in a vessel’s Garbage Record Book. As part of this, cleaning agents, additives and residue contained in cargo holds should not be discharged to sea, unless it can be proven these substances are classified as not harmful to the marine environment (HME).

“Shipowners must ensure compliance, and must have access to the necessary products and knowledge to do so,” comments Jan Fredrik Bjorge, Product Marketing Manager Cleaning Solutions WSS.

“Operators need to be aware of how the combination of their cargoes and the products used to clean cargo holds impacts upon their ability to be discharged to sea. Cargo residues and the products used to clean cargo holds must be declared as HME, otherwise the wash water has to be discharged at a port reception facility.”

The regulation states that the burden of proof that cleaning agents and additives are not HME lies with the vessel, and that they are under obligation to provide evidence to Port State Control authorities upon inspection.

“For some owners this can appear both complicated and worrying,” Bjorge notes, “but it doesn’t have to be. A discussion with a cargo hold cleaning specialist can set their minds at rest and ensure they have the procedures and products in place to guarantee compliance.”

For its part WSS supplies Safety Data Sheets with its hold cleaning range, detailing the composition and compliant nature of its products, while also providing stand-alone customer letters listing all relevant cleaning chemicals classified as not HME. It also supplies a range of cleaning equipment.

For cargoes that are classified HME, WSS notes that by reducing the amount of wash water the cost of shore disposal can also be cut. Bjorge recommends using a temporary hold barrier in this respect, such as WSS’ Slip Coat Plus. “This prevents the adhesion of the cargo to the hold’s surface” he notes, “resulting in a diminished need for cleaning chemicals and water.”

Concluding on the issue, Bjorge stresses: “The penalties for non-compliance are stringent and claiming a lack of knowledge is no excuse.

“We suggest shipowners and operators choose suppliers and products they know they can trust. New regulations needn’t be a concern if you select the right partners to work with.”

WSS produces its own range of high quality Cargo Hold cleaning products, all of which are produced in a single location, Tønsberg, Norway, and manufactured to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards.