Bulk ship owners and operators must pay as much attention to the products used to clean their cargo holds as the holds themselves in the wake of new regulations, says Wilhelmsen Ships Services (WSS), Norway.

The revised MARPOL Annex V Resolution MEPC.201(62), relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, came into force on 1 January 2016.

WSS said on 23 February that a key detail is the Annex ‘garbage regulation’, stipulating that discharge of garbage into the sea is prohibited, unless specifically allowed, and that every discharge must be noted in a vessel’s Garbage Record Book.

As part of this, cleaning agents, additives and residue contained in cargo holds should not be discharged to sea, unless it can be proven these substances are classified as not harmful to the marine environment (HME).

“Shipowners must ensure compliance, and must have access to the necessary products and knowledge to do so,” said Jan Fredrik Bjorge, WSS’ product marketing manager, cleaning solutions. “Cargo residues and the products used to clean cargo holds must be declared as HME, otherwise the wash water has to be discharged at a port reception facility.”

Proving that cleaning agents and additives are not HME lies with the vessel and evidence must be provided to port control authorities upon inspection.

Bjorge said a discussion with a cargo hold cleaning specialist would ensure ship owners have the procedures and products in place to guarantee compliance.

Reducing the amount of wash water could also cut the cost of shore disposal for cargoes that are classified HME.