null The Government proposes the reception of waste in ports to be tightened
The Government proposes the reception of waste in ports to be tightened
The Government proposes amendments to the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport. The aim is to improve the reception of waste in ports. In a key amendment, the obligation to receive waste from vessels would be expanded to coastal and inland marinas with 25–49 berths. The Government presented its proposal to the Parliament on 29 April 2021.
The Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport will be amended as required by the revised Directive (EU) 2019/883 on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships. Marine littering is a growing problem, and the EU aims to tackle it by improving the efficiency of waste management at ports, for example. The aim is to guide operators of recreational craft and commercial vessels to dispose of their waste regularly at ports. The regulation will reduce the generation of litter in the Baltic Sea and Finland’s inland waters, as well as the discharge of plastics and nutrients into watercourses.
These amendments concern, in particular, small ports, such as marinas for recreational craft and fishing ports, as well as ports used by connecting ferries and water buses. The smallest marinas for recreational craft, such as boatyards and piers of private homes and holiday homes, would be excluded from the regulation. Merchant shipping regulations will mainly remain unchanged, while waste processing requirements for ports will be specified.
In addition, the temporary coronavirus-related amendments made in 2020 to the Act on the Security of Certain Ships and Associated Port Facilities and on Monitoring Maritime Security and the Ship Register Act would be made permanent. In the future, security checks aboard ships in accordance with the Act on the Security of Certain Ships and Associated Port Facilities and on Monitoring Maritime Security could also be conducted by an approved inspection body in addition to the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom). Amendments concerning the copying of title deeds and the removal of vessels from the register would be made to the Ship Register Act. In the future, vessels could be registered with a copy of the title deed so that the original deed is submitted to the authorities afterwards. At the same time, certain technical amendments would be made to the Ship Register Act and the Act on the Security of Certain Ships and Associated Port Facilities and on Monitoring Maritime Security.
Key amendments to the processing of waste at ports
1. In the future, all ports should have the facilities to receive waste from vessels using them. Previously, the regulation did not apply to marinas with fewer than 50 berths, but now the limit would be set at 25 berths. Piers of private homes and holiday homes, jointly owned shores and beaches, connecting piers of holiday homes, and piers of shops and restaurants used for short-term mooring would be excluded from the regulation.
2. Home ports should have reception facilities for oily, hazardous and mixed waste and sewage. This corresponds to the current requirement applied to marinas with at least 50 berths. Guest harbours should have the facilities to receive mixed waste and sewage. In the same way as at present, the party managing a marina may conclude a contract on the use of reception facilities located nearby.
3. The waste reception obligation would be extended to fishing ports and ports used by connecting ferries and water buses, to which the current regulation does not apply.
4. All ports should draw up a waste management plan for a period of five years, instead of the three-year plans required at present.
5. At commercial ports, the waste reception requirements would be specified. As a new requirement, ports would also need to receive biowaste, paper and cardboard, and other municipal waste. Merchant shipping regulations, such as the reporting of port data in the EU’s marine data management system, the obligation of ports to hand over a receipt of delivered waste, and exemptions granted for vessels, would be harmonised across the EU.
The transfer of noxious cargo at sea to be monitored more closely
In accordance with the MARPOL Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of the International Maritime Organization IMO, the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport includes provisions on ship-to-ship transfer operations of oil cargo. In the future, the national regulation would also concern the transfer of all types of noxious and hazardous cargo, such as biofuels, chemicals, waste, and other types of noxious and hazardous cargo. Transfers would be restricted to specific separately designated areas, and an advance notification would be required to allow the authorities to interfere with hazardous transfers, if considered necessary. The same requirements would also apply to ship-to-ship fuel delivery operations in ports or at sea.
In addition, the compliance of operations of fuel suppliers with the Sulphur Directive will be monitored more effectively. Sampling will be extended to include fuel deliveries, and the authority to impose a punishment will be expanded to also cover fuel suppliers that have verifiably supplied high-sulphur fuel in breach of the requirements. An administrative fee applicable to sulphur emissions will be regulated separately.
The geographical scope of application of the oil discharge fee would be extended to inland waters, while the fee can currently be only imposed on emissions at sea.
A parliamentary debate will be conducted in a plenary session on the proposition submitted by the Government to the Parliament. The time of the debate will be announced on the Parliament’s website in the Tulevat täysistunnot (Upcoming plenary sessions) section. After the parliamentary debate, the proposition will be processed by the Transport and Communications Committee. Once its report is completed, the matter will be further processed in a plenary session.
The decree issued based on the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport will also be amended. The Ministry of Transport and Communications requests statements on the draft decree by 25 May 2021.
The amendments to the national legislation required by the Directive on vessel waste must be in force on 28 June 2021, when the act and decree would enter into force. The amendments to the Act on the Technical Safety and Safe Operation of Ships and the act on ship equipment would enter into force on 28 June 2021. The amendments to the Ship Register Act and the Act on the Security of Certain Ships and Associated Port Facilities and on Monitoring Maritime Security would enter into force as soon as possible.
Laura Sarlin, Senior Specialist, 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
- Press release, 1 February 2021: Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport circulated for second comments – reduced requirements for ports and authorities
- Press release, 5 November 2020: Legislation on the management of vessel waste in ports tightened – comments invited
- Press release, 12 November 2019: Environmental legislation on maritime transport will be reformed – focus on waste management
- Finnish Government plenary session working documents, 29 April 2021 (in Finnish)
- Gateway to Information on Government Projects: Amendment to the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport (LVM036:00/2019)
- Lausuntopalvelu.fi: Request for statements on the amendment to the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport and certain other acts (in Finnish)
- Lausuntopalvelu.fi: Supplementary request for comments: Government proposal for the amendment to the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport and certain other acts (in Finnish)