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Suggested Citation:"Small Public Vessels." 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 44

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SOURCES, FATES, AND EFFECTS OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE 44 a merchant ship in the U.S. fleet is about 21, after falling from as high as 50 in the 1960s (Landsburg et al., 1990). This sector is a greater Annex V implementation challenge than is suggested by the Cantin study, which significantly underestimated the number of U.S. port calls by foreign-flag ships. (Another major difficulty in this sector, addressed in Chapter 7, is securing compliance by foreign-flag ships.) On the positive side, the trend in crew size suggests that amounts of domestic garbage generated have been declining. Regarding types of Annex V garbage generated, the most noteworthy factor is the need to contend with bulky dunnage, which must be retained on board under some circumstances.7 Passenger Day Boats and Ferries Coastal day boats include many specialty craft, usually carrying passengers on leisure excursions such as sport fishing, whale watching, bird watching, or touring of the coastal waters. Small freighters are included in this category due to the short duration of their voyages. Casino ships, which may remain in port most of the time, are also included. The Cantin estimate for garbage generated by this sector seems much too high, apparently because day boats were considered to be in full-time service, taking overnight trips (like cruise ships). As defined by the committee, day boats are in service part-time and take brief voyages; they should not be a major challenge in Annex V implementation. Most passenger ferries in the United States transport a large number of persons on relatively brief voyages, during which perhaps one meal and snacks may be eaten. Garbage, consisting primarily of leftover food and packaging, is off-loaded to port reception facilities at the beginning and end of each trip. Most ferries are regulated under domestic laws enacted prior to the ratification of Annex V and long have operated on a zero-discharge standard. Small Public Vessels The committee examined Coast Guard, naval auxiliary vessels, and other public vessels (such as those operated by the U.S. Army and military academies) as a single category. This sector includes more than 3,100 vessels, all small in size compared to the Navy's warships. The Cantin data appear to overestimate the amounts of garbage generated by this sector, in part because the assumptions for crew sizes on naval auxiliaries were high. In the committee's judgment, these fleets do not generate huge amounts of garbage but do face special challenges in 7 Dunnage may be discharged overboard beyond 25 nautical miles from shore, but it must be retained on board for shoreside disposal inside 25 nautical miles and in special areas.

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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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