Marine Waste Management

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The Reasons of Marine Waste Management

New rules from IMO (International Maritime Organization), adopted in July 2011, imply substantial changes for all ship or rig types as early as January 2013.

By applying waste management, the ship or rig owner or operator takes control of waste handling with the aim of achieving some or all of the following objectives:

1) To fulfill global and local rules and regulations

2) To minimize the cost, space and labour requirements related to waste handling

3) To secure long-term revenue by conforming with, or enhancing the environmental profile.

Offshore and shipping operations generate a huge variety of solid and liquid waste streams. These waste streams are regulated by increasingly stringent global and local rules, implying in general that waste is to be recycled onshore. 

Space and resources onboard are by nature limited and the ports’ reception facilities add their own requirements for disposal and recycling of waste.

In a modern, environmentally friendly waste management system, the waste is separated into fractions onboard the rig or ship and, in the case of dry waste, its volume is also reduced. This makes recycling ashore possible and reduces transportation and disposal costs. Air pollution is also reduced since, once the fractions are compacted to reduce their volume, incineration is no longer required.

Improving environmental performance is a way for ship owners and operators to secure their revenue in the long term. Several international third party organizations acknowledge ship owners who make efforts to reduce the impact of shipping on the environment.

Such efforts can result in, for example, discounts on port dues, charter preferences, lower insurance premiums, improved image, crew motivation and pride, etc.

Waste management can be divided into six different phases: 

Environmental policy: An environmental policy clearly defines the level and objectives to which to operate. It also ensures compliance with mandatory regulations and continuous improvement of performance.

Collection and separation: There should preferably be strategically located waste handling stations for sorting different waste fractions, which are subsequently delivered to a garbage handling room for processing.

Onboard processing: Food and galley waste can be collected, treated and stored in separate closed systems.  Marine waste shredders and crushers can reduce the volume of the dry waste, which in turn reduces the storage space required.

Onboard storage: The waste should be stored in a manner which avoids health and safety hazards. It is recommended that food waste and food contaminated waste are kept separate from the other garbage.

Recycling/disposal:  Recycling is preferred to disposal as recycled waste reduces cost for disposal and is a valuable resource. All disposal of waste at sea is regulated by IMO regulations and local regulations.

Audit & education:  Diligent audits and continuous training, including operation of waste treatment systems, increases environmental awareness onboard which demonstrates that the environmental management system is operating effectively and in conformity with legal requirements. 

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