The European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement on a directive on port reception facilities for the delivery and processing of waste from ships.
This was based on a proposal by the European Commission in January 2018 as part of the European strategy to reduce plastic waste.
The directive sets measures, aiming to ensure that waste generated on ships or collected at sea is always returned to land, recycled and processed and ports.
Violeta Bulk, commissioner for mobility and transport, said: “Pollution is killing our oceans and urgent action is needed to reduce marine pollution and marine litter. Shipping and ports play a central role in collecting waste generated from a sea going vessel.
“Today’s agreement is a further proof of the EU’s determination to protect the oceans from pollution while fostering new and innovative business models to make our economy more circular and sustainable.”
The new rules will enable a mix of incentive and enforcement measures such as a targeted inspection regime, supported by a digital reporting system, as well as cost recovery systems, based on an indirect fee that will give incentives for ‘green ships’ that demonstrate sustainable waste management on board.
The rapporteur, MEP Gesine Meissner, said: “Ships will not have any financial incentive anymore to dump garbage into the sea. With the 100% indirect fee they will have to automatically pay a waste fee once they enter a port which allows them to deliver all the garbage on board.
“We also made sure that the Commission will soon propose updated legislation on what cannot be discharged at sea which should make the enforcement of discharge bans more effective.”
A statement from the European Commission earlier in 2018 noted that 20-40% of marine litter originates from sea-based sources.
With this in mind, the new directive hopes to protect the marine environment by reducing discharges of waste from ships; and to improve efficiency of maritime operations in ports by reducing the administrative burden.
According to the Commission, this will be achieved by seeking further alignment with the MARPOL Convention, which has introduced a stricter regime for garbage discharges and has also become more stringent over time in relation to other types of waste from ships.