Vessel waste disposal

Under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act), it is an offence to pollute any waters in NSW unless permitted under an environment protection licence issued by the Environment Protection Authority.

Water pollution constitutes putting solid, liquid or gaseous, refuse, litter, debris or other matter into any river, stream, lake, lagoon, swamp, wetlands, unconfined surface water, natural or artificial watercourse, dam or tidal waters (including the sea) any water stored in artificial works, any water in water mains, water pipes or water channels, or any underground or artesian water.

Marine Pollution Regulation 2006

Associated with the Marine Pollution Act 1987 is the 2006 Regulation which deals with:

  • Sewage from vessels (Part 7 Division 2)
  • Other discharge from vessels (Part 7 Division 3)
  • Provision of waste collection facilities (Part 7 Division 4)

International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78) also requires certain vessels to make specific provisions:

  • Oil
  • Noxious substances
  • Sewage
  • Garbage
  • Air pollution.

Information can be found in MARPOL Annexes I, II, IV, V, VI. For more information on these Annexes, see MARPOL - Current Texts.

The law does permit the disposal of certain types of garbage at sea but there are strict requirements on where and how this can be done. Large vessels with specialised grinding/shredding equipment are able to discharge certain types of garbage when they are beyond a specific distance from land.

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