Disposal of garbage in the Mediterranean - new requirements of the MARPOL Convention

The Mediterranean Sea has become a Special Area with effect from May 1, 2009, under the provisions of Annex V of the MARPOL 73/78 Convention.
From May 1, 2009, disposal of the following types of garbage into the Mediterranean Sea is prohibited:

  • all plastics, including but not limited to synthetic ropes, synthetic fishing nets, plastic garbage bags and incinerator ashes from plastic products which may contain toxic or heavy metal residues and
  •  all other garbage, including paper products, rags, glass, metal, bottles, crockery, dunnage, lining and packing materials.

Food wastes may be disposed in to the sea as far as practicable from land, but in any case not less than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
When garbage is mixed with other garbage types which have different disposal or discharge requirements, more stringent requirements will apply.
All ships will be reqiured to dispose of their garbage to shore reception facilities; where reception facilities are not available garbage is to be retained on board until it can either be disposed of ashore or in accordance with the provisions of MARPOL Annex V outside of the Mediterranean Sea.