MARPOL Annex V - Wider Caribbean Region Special Area
Members are reminded that from 1 May 2011 the Wider Caribbean Region will become a special area under the requirements of MARPOL Annex V “Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships”.
As advised in IMO Circular letter No. 3053, in March 2010 the sixtieth session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee found that the garbage reception facilities in the region were in accordance with MARPOL requirements, hence special area status could be established. Since IMO is required to notify all parties at least 12 months in advance of the date when the regulations will come into force, an implementation date of 1 May 2011 has been set.
Limits of the Wider Caribbean Region Special Area
MARPOL Annex V Regulation 5(1)(h) defines the Wider Caribbean Region as “The Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea proper including the bays and seas therein and that portion of the Atlantic Ocean within the boundary constituted by the 30° N parallel from Florida eastward to 77°30’ W meridian, thence a rhumb line to the intersection of 20° N parallel and 59° W meridian, thence a rhumb line to the intersection of 7°20’ N parallel and 50° W meridian, thence a rhumb line drawn south westerly to the eastern boundary of French Guiana.”
Special Area Garbage Disposal Regulations
Under MARPOL Annex V a special area is defined as “a sea area where for recognised technical reasons in relation to its oceanographical and ecological condition, and to the particular character of its traffic the adoption of special mandatory methods for the prevention of sea pollution by garbage is required”.
As a designated area, more stringent garbage disposal regulations apply. These are set out in MARPOL Annex V Regulation 5(2):
(a) disposal into the sea of the following is prohibited:
(i) all plastics, including but not limited to synthetic ropes, synthetic fishing nets, plastic garbage bags and incinerator ashes from plastic products which may contain toxic or heavy metal residues; and
(ii) all other garbage, including paper products, rags, glass, metal, bottles, crockery, dunnage, lining and packing materials;
(b) except as provided in subparagraph (c) of this paragraph, disposal into the sea of food wastes shall be made as far as practicable from land, but in any case not less than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land;
(c) disposal into the Wider Caribbean Region of food wastes which have been passed through a comminuter or grinder shall be made as far as practicable from land, but in any case not less than 3 nautical miles from the nearest land. Such comminuted or ground food wastes shall be capable of passing through a screen with openings no greater than 25mm.
Members should ensure that their vessels are aware of the implementation of the Wider Caribbean Region Special Area on 1 May 2011 and are suitably prepared to comply with the more stringent garbage disposal regulations. It should also be borne in mind that beyond this date, Port State Control Officers in the region may check Garbage Record Books to ensure that vessels are adhering to the new regulations.
If Members require further guidance they should contact the Loss Prevention Department.