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Lack of adequate Baltic reception facilities delays new special area discharge requirements

Lack of adequate Baltic reception facilities delays new special area discharge requirements
The entry into force of MARPOL Annex IV requirements prohibiting passenger vessels from discharging sewage within the Baltic Sea special area has been delayed, according to a Lloyd's Register statutory alert.

These requirements were intended to apply to new passenger ships from Jan. 1, 2016. However, a delay in arranging reception facilities means that the special area cannot take effect on this date.

Therefore, the International Maritime Organization's Marine Environment Protection Committee has agreed in principle—that is, without formally amending MARPOL Annex IV yet—to implement the requirements from June 1, 2019, and from June 1, 2021, for existing ships.

The Lloyd's Register alert also detailed the updated performance test and standard requirement for sewage treatment plans contained in section 4 of Resolution MEPC.227(64) and, specifically, the requirement for passenger ships operating in the Baltic and other special areas to meet the nitrogen and phosphorus removal standard in section 4.2.

IMO has also agreed in principle to postpone the implementation date for this requirement, again to June 1, 2019, for new ships, and June 1, 2021, for existing ships.

The changes to MARPOL Annex IV to confirm these new implementation dates are expected to be adopted at the 69th MEPC meeting in April.

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