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Suggested Citation:"Research 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 47

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SOURCES, FATES, AND EFFECTS OF SHIPBORNE GARBAGE 47 Annex V because most passengers are American (4 million took vacation cruises in 1991), and 6 of the world's 8 leading cruise markets11 are in or adjacent to U.S. waters. Voyages typically consist of fairly short ocean passages punctuated by visits to one or more tourist ports of call. Garbage consists primarily of food and other domestic wastes. Far more garbage probably is generated by this sector than is suggested by the Cantin data, which underestimated the numbers of persons on board and have been superseded by the expansion of the fleet. A large cruise ship in today's market can carry 2,500 passengers and employ a crew of 800, so a single vessel can have as many as 3,300 persons on board (Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, 1993). The garbage from normal operations on one ship exceeds 1 ton a day. More significant than the weight is the volume of the accumulated garbage, which demands that ship spaces and procedures be well planned and organized. Meanwhile, the size of the fleet has grown considerably since the Cantin study was conducted and continues to expand. The number of passengers taking cruises is expected to double before the turn of the century. Forty-eight new cruise ships have been built since the U.S. ratification of Annex V in 1987, and 21 more are scheduled for delivery by the end of 1998. Most garbage is treated on board. When garbage must be off-loaded, cruise ships can put a strain on port reception facilities, due to the volumes of materials landed, the short port times and congested schedules of many cruise itineraries, and the minimal landfill capacities or shoreside treatment capabilities in many tourist ports. (Many tourist destinations, particularly those in the Caribbean and Mexico, are finding it increasingly difficult to manage land-generated waste, let alone ships' garbage.) New investment and construction in North American cruise ports has been substantial, but in other itinerary ports, selected initially for their pristine or exotic ambience, the logistical challenges of handling vessel garbage pose a chronic impediment to Annex V implementation. The cruise industry may be able to accommodate that challenge, because its revenues are sufficient to cover the cost of new ships incorporating state-of- the-art equipment. Working with shipbuilders and equipment manufacturers, the cruise industry has developed and equipped its fleet with the latest in garbage treatment systems—including compactors, incinerators, pulpers, and shredders— not only to maintain compliance with Annex V, but also to reduce reliance on port reception facilities. Research Vessels Dozens of public and private marine research vessels operate in the United States. Most are small ships operated by private universities and research organi- 11 The eight markets, in order of prominence, are the Caribbean, Western Mexico, Mediterranean, Trans Panama Canal, Europe, Alaska, Bermuda, and Hawaii (Maritime Reporter, 1993).

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Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea Get This Book
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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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