National Academies Press: OpenBook

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea (1995)

Chapter: Implementation of Annex V in the Wider Caribbean

Suggested Citation:"Implementation of Annex V in the Wider Caribbean." National Research Council. 1995. Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4769.
Page 206
Suggested Citation:"Implementation of Annex V in the Wider Caribbean." National Research Council. 1995. Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4769.
Page 207

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OVERARCHING ISSUES AFFECTING ANNEX V IMPLEMENTATION 206 provide for zero-discharge capability for vessels operating in special areas, and that the strategy include measures to assure adequate port reception facilities-not only in U.S. ports (a topic addressed in Chapter 5), but also bordering the Wider Caribbean special area. An international emphasis on building the capability of ports to implement Annex V is important, because the stringent rules associated with special area status will not be enforceable in the Wider Caribbean until the region has sufficient numbers of adequate port reception facilities. Entry into force of special area rules in the Caribbean, as elsewhere, depends on a determination by IMO that sufficient port reception facilities are in place. However, IMO has not established definitive criteria as yet for determining whether this condition has been met. Clearly, MARPOL does not require that all adjacent states become signatories of Annex V, and IMO has indicated that there is no need for all nations adjacent to the special area to establish port reception facilities. But IMO recognizes that vessels cannot be expected to comply with the stringent special area restrictions unless there are adequate and relatively convenient opportunities for disposal of garbage in nearby ports. In the Wider Caribbean, adequate port reception facilities probably would be needed only in key littoral states—such as the United States, Cuba, and Mexico—in order for vessels to comply with Annex V without a great deal of inconvenience. Once this occurs, the special area designation may become enforceable. However, Cuba and Mexico are not now parties to MARPOL. Negotiations are under way to encourage their ratification of MARPOL and Annex V and to secure adequate port reception facilities in these nations. It is no small undertaking to assure that all vessels that need zero-discharge capability achieve it, and that adequate port reception facilities exist near sea areas bordered by multiple nations. These are significant challenges that affect a number of maritime sectors and demand the involvement of multiple federal agencies. (Chapters 4 and 5 identified technical obstacles to achieving zero- discharge capability and providing adequate reception facilities.) Strong national leadership will be required to meet these challenges and develop and execute an effective Annex V implementation strategy. Implementation of Annex V in the Wider Caribbean The Wider Caribbean poses a greater challenge for U.S. implementation of Annex V than does any other region. The Coast Guard has reported a greater number of violations in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean than in other U.S. waters, because ports there are ''frequented more by vessels from nations that are not party to MARPOL and manned by crews who are unaware of the requirements'' (Eastern Research Group, 1992). The severity of the Caribbean debris problem was what prompted the United States to petition IMO for a special area designation for the Gulf of Mexico. (To gain regional support for the initiative,

OVERARCHING ISSUES AFFECTING ANNEX V IMPLEMENTATION 207 the United States also launched diplomatic efforts in the United Nations Environment Program's Regional Seas Program for the Wider Caribbean Region.) After obtaining the designation, the U.S. government turned its attention to assuring that the prerequisites were met: Adjacent nations had to provide adequate reception facilities. As a next step, the United States led the effort to gain World Bank support for an assessment of the need for waste reception facilities in the region's ports. Officials at the World Bank's Global Environmental Facility agreed to provide funding for such a study. The study determined that, in many of the island nations, the problem of handling vessel-generated garbage could not be separated from the larger issue of management of solid wastes produced on land; a comprehensive waste management strategy was needed for the islands and the region. The World Bank then developed a package of grants and loans to help address the waste management needs of the eastern Caribbean states. 14 In addition, recognizing that a region-wide program for financial and technical assistance is needed, the World Bank has initiated the Wider Caribbean Initiative on Ship-Generated Waste in Support of the MARPOL 73/78 Convention (World Bank/Global Environmental Facility, 1994). The World Bank project for the eastern Caribbean states serves as an example of a project designed to produce comprehensive solutions through a waste management strategy that does not merely shift pollution from one place to another. The project also illustrates that finding solutions for other areas of the Caribbean and the globe will be neither inexpensive nor easy. Limited resources are available to aid nations lacking the domestic capacity to handle their own wastes as well as those generated by vessels entering their ports. The administrative and legal infrastructures needed to implement stringent environmental standards are beyond reach of many nations. Regional cooperation may be the only way to surmount these limitations. The United States could continue to exert leadership in promoting the development of cooperative and collaborative programs. One mechanism would be a regional memorandum of understanding that sets terms for the sharing of enforcement assets, training programs, and other resources. Another way to promote international implementation of Annex V, and thereby assist in U.S. implementation efforts, would be to identify and overcome obstacles hindering participation in MARPOL by Caribbean nations. Not enough has been done to analyze how Caribbean states might carry out responsibilities for control of pollution from vessels cost effectively, either by ratifying MARPOL 14 Members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) are Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Montserrat. Montserrat is not a member of the World Bank group. A workshop was held in 1993 at which OECS members were informed about the World Bank project.

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Marine debris is a serious environmental problem. To do its part, the United States has agreed to abide by the international treaty for garbage control at sea, known as MARPOL 73/78 Annex V.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans explores the challenge of translating Annex V into workable laws and regulations for all kinds of ships and boats, from cruise ships to fishing crafts and recreational boats. The volume examines how existing resources can be leveraged into a comprehensive strategy for compliance, including integrated waste management systems and effective enforcement.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans describes both progress toward and obstacles to Annex V compliance. The book covers:

  • How shipborne garbage orignates and what happens to garbage discharged into the seas.
  • Effects of discharge on human health, wildlife safety, and aesthetics.
  • Differences in perspective among military, industrial, and recreational seafarers and shoreside facilities.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans will be important to marine policymakers, port administrators, ship operations officers, maritime engineers, and marine ecologists.

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