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  • 2020 November 11 16:51

    Finland tightens legislation on management of vessel waste in ports

    Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications says the legislation concerning maritime transport is being reformed to improve the reception and treatment of waste in ports, which will reduce the generation of marine litter and discharge of plastics into the seas. The process also includes updating the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport and the regulation concerning vessel safety.

    The Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport will be amended to fulfil the requirements set in the revised Directive (EU) 2019/883) on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships. The proposed amendments concern, in particular, small ports such as marinas for recreational craft and fishing ports as well as ports used by connecting ferries and water buses.

    According to the Directive on vessel waste, all ports should have the facilities to receive waste from vessels using them. The definition of ‘port’ will be updated in accordance with the Directive. In Finland, places where the structures, services, numbers of users and amounts waste are small in scale have not been considered ports. According to the new definition, ‘port’ would mean a place or geographical area that is equipped for the reception of ships. The most significant change is that the waste collection obligation would be extended to coastal marinas with less than 50 berths, which are not covered by the present regulation.

    According to the Directive on vessel waste, all ports should have the facilities to receive waste from vessels using them. The definition of ‘port’ will be updated in accordance with the Directive. In Finland, places where the structures, services, numbers of users and amounts waste are small in scale have not been considered ports. According to the new definition, ‘port’ would mean a place or geographical area that is equipped for the reception of ships. The most significant change is that the waste collection obligation would be extended to coastal marinas with less than 50 berths, which are not covered by the present regulation.

    In accordance with the MARPOL Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of the International Maritime Organization IMO, the Act on Environmental Protection in Maritime Transport includes provisions on ship-to-ship transfer operations of oil cargo. In future the national regulation would also concern the transfers of biofuels, chemicals, wastes and other types of noxious and hazardous cargo. The use of e.g. biofuels is growing, which is why the risks associated with their transfers should also be minimised. The transfers would be restricted to specific, designated areas and an advance notification would be required to allow the authorities to interfere with hazardous transfers if considered necessary. The same requirements would apply to ship-to-ship fuel delivery operations in ports or at sea.

    The government proposal would also include amendments to be proposed to the Ship Register Act and the Act on the Security of Certain Ships and Associated Port Facilities and on Monitoring Maritime Security prepared as part of an extensive legislative package related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary legislative amendments made in the spring would now become permanent ones. At the same time certain technical amendments would be made to the Ship Register Act and the Act on the Security of Certain Ships and Associated Port Facilities and on Monitoring Maritime Security.

    The amendments to the national legislation required by the Directive on vessel waste must be in force on 28 June 2021. According to the proposal, the amendments would enter into force on 28 June 2021, except for certain transitional provisions concerning the organisation of waste management. The amendments to the Ship Register Act and the Act on the Security of Certain Ships and Associated Port Facilities and on Monitoring Maritime Security would enter into force on 1 April 2021.


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