Even on short trips, ships build up a surprising amount of waste that has to be stored on board until the next port of call. And in this age of heightened environmental awareness, the way in which this waste is handled at the destination port is extremely important. Today, there is much national, regional and international legislation setting down rules on the correct processes.
For the UK, for example, legislation introduced in 2003 pressed the requirement for a statutory Port Waste Management Plan in every UK port. Under this plan, ships must provide their destination port with prior notification of their onboard waste, which they then must discharge at the port and pay a mandatory fee to contribute towards the costs incurred by the port authority in providing waste-reception facilities.
Waste services on offer can vary from sewage removal, treatment of waste, recycling, collection of dry waste, removal of oily waste and burning facilities. Even with non-hazardous waste, there are unexpected considerations: for example, compacted refuse deposited at landfill sites needs to be immediately covered over to prevent vermin such as seagulls picking out food which might be contaminated with a disease not native to the country of disposal.
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