News 10 Feb, 2011

China - New Regulations for the Management of the Collection and Disposal of Pollutants, Tank Cleaning & Oil Transfer Operations in Shanghai

On 1 January 2011 new rules came into force regulating the collection and disposal of pollutant residues, tank cleaning and oil transfers within the jurisdiction of the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) to prevent pollution of the marine environment. At present no English translation of the new regulations has been published by the MSA, the following guidance is therefore based on a translation kindly provided by the International Group’s correspondent in China.  

Regulations concerning the collection and disposal of pollutants from vessels and tank cleaning operations  

Background  

The new regulations - the “Interim Regulations of Shanghai MSA on Administration of the Prevention and Control of Marine Environment Pollution Caused by Operations of Collecting Vessel Pollutants” - concern operations for the collection and disposal of oily water, oil residue, garbage, sewage, exhaust gas or water containing toxic or harmful substances, (referred to hereunder as “pollutants”) and also tank cleaning operations conducted by a third party contractor (i.e. other than the vessel’s own tank cleaning operations).

Although the regulations are now in force, the MSA is yet to publish a list of approved service providers who can undertake each of the different operations covered by the regulations; however, it is expected that this list will be published shortly. Until such time that the approved service providers list is published, Members should comply with the requirements detailed below concerning service providers who have not gained approval from Shanghai MSA.

The regulations require a Member or, if applicable, their branch office in Shanghai to sign an “entrustment agreement” with an MSA approved service provider, termed an “operation unit” in the regulations, Confusingly however, as detailed below there appear to be certain circumstances where this may not be necessary, but out of prudence and pending further clarification, the Managers recommend that an entrustment agreement is in place in advance of the vessel’s arrival in Shanghai. At the present time there is no model agreement as referred to in the regulations. A copy of the agreement is to be filed with Shanghai MSA, with copies of the relevant ships documents attached. When a Member changes its approved service provider they must sign a new entrustment agreement and again file the agreement with the MSA in Shanghai.

Operational Requirements  

Where the service provider contracted to collect pollutants or to conduct tank cleaning is not approved by Shanghai MSA, then an application must be made by the service provider to Shanghai MSA at least 24 hours in advance of the commencement of the operation along with the required relevant documents.

When an agreement is in place between the Member and an approved service provider and a list of vessels’ names has been filed with Shanghai MSA, each proposed collection or tank cleaning operation is to be approved in advance by Shanghai MSA. The service provider must submit the operation application via the online reporting system to Shanghai MSA in line with the following requirements:

  • For operations involving the collection of pollutants: at least 12 hours in advance.
  • For operations involving the collection of garbage: at least 2 hours in advance.

For tank cleaning operations no time frame for the submission of the application is stated in the regulations.

As noted above, although the regulations appear to require an entrustment agreement to be in place prior to conducting operations covered by the regulations, the regulations also state that when an approved service provider has been requested to collect pollutants or to conduct tank cleaning but there is no such agreement in place, then the service provider must apply to Shanghai MSA for approval of the intended operations.

When vessels are calling at a shipyard for repair, maintenance or scrapping, the shipyard must submit the required application for the discharge of pollutants to Shanghai MSA.

When an operation to collect pollutants or to conduct tank cleaning is to take place at an anchorage, then a qualified company must be used to conduct a risk assessment of the proposed operation which must then be submitted to Shanghai MSA for approval prior to the operation commencing. Approval will not be granted in the following cases:

  • When the application does not reflect the actual planned operation.
  • When deficiencies or defects are found in the proposed operational plan and these have not been rectified or addressed within the time limit imposed by Shanghai MSA.
  • When the weather conditions are not suitable for ensuring the safety of the proposed operation.
  • When the proposed operation is to take place in an area afforded special protection status.
  • When the additional safety measures identified during the risk assessment have not been put in place to mitigate the identified risks.
  • When the vessel has arrived from an “infected” area (the regulations do not state what constitutes an infected area), and its ballast water, sewage and garbage have not been cleared by the quarantine and inspection department.
  • Other conditions that are not permitted by relevant laws, regulations and rules.

All of the operations can only commence once approval has been granted by Shanghai MSA.

When a vessel falls under any of the following categories Shanghai MSA will seal appropriate valves on the vessel and conduct follow-up surveys of the pollutants carried onboard:

  • Vessels carrying pollutants that cannot be collected and disposed of in Shanghai Port.
  • Vessels that permanently operate only within waters governed by Shanghai MSA.
  • Vessels that only operate within waters governed by Shanghai MSA for a period of more than one month.
  • Vessels that enter shipyards for repair and maintenance. 

Documentary Requirements  

Both parties involved in operations for the collection of pollutants or tank cleaning must complete the relevant parts of a “Safety and Pollution Prevention Confirmation for Operations of Ship Pollutants Collection and Tank Cleaning Form” prior to the operation. All applicable items detailed on the form are to be answered in the affirmative for the operation to proceed; if some items cannot be adequately addressed then the MSA must be approached for approval.

Upon completion of an operation covered by the regulations the service provider should make an entry in the corresponding record book.

When pollutants have been collected the service provider must issue a receipt of ship pollutant collection to the Master for signing.

The relevant record book and receipt is to be submitted by the vessel’s agent to the MSA office for the operational area concerned for the issuance of a “Vessel Pollutant Collection Certificate”. Such certificates are to be filed onboard so that they can be made available to MSA inspectors as required. A retention period is not specified in the regulations but it is envisaged that three years will suffice.

The regulations also require that other operational records detailing the discharge of pollutants be retained for the following periods:

  • Garbage Record Book; to be kept on the vessel for two years after completion of the record book.
  • Oil Record Book and other record books, such as a Cargo Record Book; to be kept on the vessel for three years after completion of the record book.
  • Service providers’ vessels or shore based collection units shall retain the relevant log books and documentation for two years after completion of the record book.

It should be noted that these regulations do not appear to obligate a vessel to arrange the collection and disposal of pollutants or to utilise third parties to conduct tank cleaning operations prior to departure from Shanghai. Rather, the new regulations only affect such activities when carried out as part of the normal operation of a vessel.  

Regulations for oil transfer operations  

Background  

The other new regulations - “Rules on the Administration of Prevention and Control of the Maritime Environment Pollution Caused by Oil Supplying and Receiving Operation for Vessels” - concern all operations involving a vessel taking fuel or lubricating oil from either another vessel, a shore manifold or from road tankers within waters falling under the jurisdiction of the Shanghai MSA.

Although the regulations are now in force, the MSA is yet to publish a list of registered and approved suppliers who can undertaken the operations covered by the regulations, however, it is expected that this list will be published shortly. Until such time that the registered and approved supplier list is published, Members should comply with the requirements detailed below concerning suppliers who have not gained approval from Shanghai MSA.    

Operational Requirements  

When a supplier is not registered and approved by Shanghai MSA the supplier must submit a request to conduct an operation at least 24 hours in advance to the local MSA office for the area in which the supplying unit is located. The operation has to be approved by the MSA prior to operations commencing.

When a supplier is registered and approved by the MSA the supplier must submit a declaration via the online reporting system that the operation is to take place at least 2 hours prior to the operation commencing, however, if no decision is received within 2 hours of the submission to the MSA then it will be deemed to have been approved.

Operations cannot commence, however, in the following situations:

  • When the application does not reflect the actual planned operation.
  • When deficiencies or defects are found in the proposed operational plan and these have not been rectified or addressed within the time limit imposed by Shanghai MSA.
  • When the weather conditions are not suitable for ensuring the safety of the proposed operation.
  • Other conditions that are not permitted by relevant laws, regulations and rules.

Both parties are required to have made preparations in advance for any oil spill that may occur during the operation.

Both parties are to take samples of the fuel transferred during the operation. Such samples are to be jointly sealed and signed by both parties and kept by both supplier and receiver for inspection by Shanghai MSA at a later date if deemed necessary; for example to help determine the source of an oil spill.

A registered and approved supplier may advise the local MSA office of the completion of the operation within 2 hours via the online reporting system.        

Documentary Requirements  

Both parties involved are required to complete the “Bunkering Safety Checklist” prior to commencing operations and clearly specify the responsibilities of both the supplier and receiver.

The supplier must complete “oil supplying documents” and provide these to the receiving vessel. These documents should include details of:

  • The name of the receiving vessel.
  • The IMO Number of the receiving vessel.
  • The time and place of the operation.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the supplier.
  • The type, quantity and density of the oil.

The oil supplying documents must be retained by both parties for three years in order that they can be inspected by Shanghai MSA at a later date if deemed necessary.

After completion of the operation, the Oil Record Book is to be completed.

If Members require any further guidance they should contact the Loss Prevention Department.