Marine Debris: Garbage from Ships


Marine debris on Green Island, Kure Atoll

Photo 18: Marine debris on Green Island, Kure Atoll. (NOAA Photo Library).

Marine Debris Home Garbage from Ships Derelict Fishing Gear


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is working to address marine debris by reviewing Annex V to the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). MARPOL Annex V addresses operational discharge of garbage from ships and sets regulations for where and when certain garbage may be discharged. The discharge of certain substances, such as plastics, is prohibited. There are also more stringent regulations that exist in specifically designated Special Areas. In the review, the Contracting Parties to Annex V are assessing the Annex to determine whether there is a compelling need to amend the Annex to increase its effectiveness and address potential gaps. The work has been carried out mostly under the auspices of an IMO correspondence group. A working group will be formed in 2010 to begin discussion of potential amendments. Some of the issues that are being discussed include whether to amend the Annex to include a general prohibition on the discharge of garbage, with a list of exceptions for such things as food wastes; action that may be taken to gather information on derelict fishing gear; and how to handle cargo residues.

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