null Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport circulated for second comments – reduced requirements for ports and authorities

Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport circulated for second comments – reduced requirements for ports and authorities

Press release 01.02.2021 08.55 fi sv en

Boats in port. (Photo: Ilari Nackel / Shutterstock)

A revision of the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport is underway. The draft has been modified based on initial comments, and the requirements for ports and the authorities have been relaxed. The Ministry of Transport and Communications requests comments on the draft by 12 February.

The act is being revised in accordance with Directive (EU) 2019/883 on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships. The aim is to improve waste reception in ports in order to reduce marine litter and the introduction of plastic into seas.

Other changes based on national discretion will be made to the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport at the same time, as well as updates to the Act on the Technical Safety and Safe Operation of Ships, the Register of Ships Act, the Act on the Security of Certain Ships and Associated Port Facilities and on Monitoring Maritime Security, and the act on ship equipment (1503/2011). The draft was first circulated for comments in late 2020.

Six important changes after the first comments

1. The definition of satama (port) has been changed. The act’s waste management requirements would not apply to minor harbours, such as marinas with fewer than 25 moorings, or boatyards. The scope will remain the same for inland waters, meaning that the act would apply to marinas with a minimum of 50 moorings. The new limits would also reduce the impact on the obligations of the authorities.

2. In merchant shipping, ports would need to collect municipal waste, including organic, plastic and paper waste.

3. The reports submitted to the port waste management commission would be limited to the largest ports, which would reduce the requirements for the authorities, as large ports are capable of filing the reports themselves.

4. The proposal for a sulphur emission charge would be separated from the draft. It was previously proposed that a charge for vessels in violation of the limit on sulphur emissions be implemented in parallel with the criminal justice system. The preparation of this sanction would continue in a separate legal initiative for preparing the administrative sanctions of the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport.

5. The provision on the oil spill charge’s damage and hazard evaluation would be separated from the draft and prepared separately.

6. The Register of Ships Act would be changed. In future, it would suffice that the applicant submit a copy of their vessel’s title deed instead of the original document. It would still remain mandatory to present the original document to the authorities within one month of when the recording of ownership was required. After the initial comments, the limitation of only applying this procedure in exceptional circumstances has been removed from the draft.

In addition, the impacts that the changes will have on the authorities are now further explained in the draft. 

Next steps

The Ministry of Transport and Communications requests comments on the modified draft by 12 February. The government proposal is due to be presented to the Parliament in March 2021.

The changes required in national legislation by Directive (EU) 2019/883 must be in effect by 28 June 2021. The changes to the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport, the Act on the Technical Safety and Safe Operation of Ships, and the act on ship equipment (1503/2011) are due to take place on the same date. The changes proposed to the Register of Ships Act and the Act on the Security of Certain Ships and Associated Port Facilities and on Monitoring Maritime Security would be put in place as soon as possible in spring 2021.

Additional information:

Laura Sarlin, senior adviser, tel. +358 50 447 7597, laura.sarlin(at)lvm.fi, Twitter @SarlinLaura

Päivi Antikainen, director of unit, tel. +358 50 382 7101, paivi.antikainen(at)lvm.fi, Twitter @PaiviAntikainen