A cruise ship accidentally spills thousands of gallons of liquid food waste into the Great Barrier Reef in August 2018 and is ordered to pay a $1.5 million (USD) fine. Maritime authorities were notified of the spill by the cruise ship operator, but not until two days after it occurred. Such accidents not only take a financial toll on maritime companies, but they also can cause reputational damage. Ocean Guardian can save a company on both fronts. With its at-a-glance simplicity, operators immediately understand what can and cannot be discharged. Alarms alert operators to changes in regulatory requirements, while optional relay valves close internal valves and start or stop pumps as a ship moves from compliant to non-compliant areas. Those companies that have made an investment in Ocean Guardian understand its benefits, not only to their company, but to the environment.
How Non-Compliant Discharge Can Happen
There are many different ways non-compliant discharge can happen. These are some of the most common answers we hear.
- Didn't Know Regulatory Change
- Didn't Understand Vessel Location
- Didn't Understand Regulation
- Used Outdated Guidance
- Multi-tasking and lost attention
- Lack of Regulatory Resources
Real Life Examples
Could any of these happen on your watch? Mitigate your risk and simplify your compliance using Ocean Guardian.
Accidental Discharge Goes Unnoticed Increasing Penalties
Regulatory Changes Result in Fines
In May 2019, the Norwegian Maritime Authority fined a cruise ship operator $80,000 for using 0.17 percent sulfur fuel in a 0.10 percent sulfur ECA zone. It was the first such fine issued in connection with Norway’s stricter rules regulating sulfur emissions. Norwegian regulators have stated they are focused on making sure that the new environmental requirements are met. Ocean Guardian keeps users abreast of ever-changing maritime regulations by providing shipboard operators with real-time updates of international, national, regional and port regulations that are verified by a third-party maritime law firm.
A number of vessels were found to have accidentally discharged food waste, wastewater, and black water inside Bahamian archipelagic baselines, “due to misinterpretation of Bahamas baselines,” resulting in a significant fine for these non-compliant discharges. MARPOL permits certain waste to be discharged into the sea from vessels proceeding at specified distances from the nearest land. “From nearest land” as defined by MARPOL “means from the baseline from which the territorial sea of the territory in question is established”. This has been the source of much confusion. Many countries, such as the Bahamas, use an archipelagic baseline that join outlying islands, meaning the baseline in some places is many nautical miles off the coast. Reports show ships are discharging food waste, wastewater and black water inside these archipelagic baselines because of the baseline confusion. Ocean Guardian removes the guesswork from compliance by providing data on demand for baselines, applicable regulatory guidelines, and discharge alarms and notifications.