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Suggested Citation:"On-Board Storage." 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.
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Page 144

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INTEGRATING VESSEL AND SHORESIDE GARBAGE MANAGEMENT 144 vessel with durable serving pieces. Waste minimization can be encouraged or required as a condition for bids, contracts, and purchase orders. Consumables such as cleaning supplies and table condiments can be purchased in large receptacles for refilling smaller containers for daily use. Each operator devises bulk storage containers to store the necessary supplies without compromising health and safety. As some fleet operators reported to the committee, it is important that the changes do not compromise shipboard comfort and living conditions so much that the crew and/or passengers begin to resent the source reduction effort. It is always important to sustain the morale of those who are confined together on a vessel at sea. On-Board Storage A vessel operator may satisfy the mandates of Annex V by holding any restricted wastes and all plastic until the vessel returns to its home port or reaches a port reception facility that provides affordable, prompt service. Some commercial maritime operators feel that no U.S. port they visit has done an adequate job of organizing reception facilities and services, in that each garbage transaction is awkward and difficult. The committee was told of two shipping lines that prefer to hold all garbage generated while in U.S. waters rather than deal with U.S. port reception facilities as they exist now. The practice of storing wastes on board revives longstanding concerns over ensuring sanitation1 on vessels at sea. When vessels were slower, crews were larger, and there was less reliance on shoreside food preparation than is currently the case, vessel operators and builders were attentive to details that might predispose a vessel to problems with vermin or communicable diseases. Today, smaller crews must cope with not only tight itineraries but also complicated requirements for handling garbage such as food-contaminated plastics, which must be stored on board for disposal ashore. This is an issue that affects all maritime sectors. Yet the only federal guidelines on this topic, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program, apply solely to passenger vessels with international itineraries (i.e., cruise ships). Several incidents of serious contagious illness on passenger ships during the summer cruise season of 1994 (Dahl, 1994; Journal of Commerce, 1994) underscored the importance of safeguarding vessel sanitation. These incidents demonstrated that the government must retain a capability to monitor sanitation on all forms of domestic transportation and public accommodation. At present, such monitoring of vessels other than cruise ships is left to local and state health department personnel, who typically will respond to a request from a Coast 1 For purposes of this report, sanitation refers specifically to the promotion of hygiene and prevention of disease through proper handling and storage of garbage (not sewage).

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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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