Lloyd’s Register (LR) has issued a statutory alert for the revised MARPOL Annex V entering into force Jan. 1, 2013, requiring all ships above 100 tons to have a garbage management plan, maintaining a garbage record book, and stipulating stricter rules for discharges. (The plan itself does not have to be approved.)

According to the revised rules, food waste may be discharged more than three nautical miles from land if passed through a grinder. Such waste must be capable of passing through a screen no greater than 25 mm, or may be discharged 12 nautical miles from land if not passed through a grinder.

Cleaning agents for decks and external surfaces may only be discharged to sea provided they are not harmful to the marine environment.

The rules are slightly different within areas defined as “special” – the Mediterranean, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, North Sea, the Antarctic area and the wider Caribbean region – where food wastes may be discharged as far as practical from land, but not less than 12 nautical miles from land, or the nearest ice shelf.

The discharge of other garbage into the sea is prohibited.