National Academies Press: OpenBook

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

Chapter: Enhancing Shipboard Technology Development and Use

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Suggested Citation:"Enhancing Shipboard Technology Development and Use." 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 154

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INTEGRATING VESSEL AND SHORESIDE GARBAGE MANAGEMENT 154 tained waste management, and use of this technology may reduce the need for disposal at port reception facilities. But ship operators need to recognize that incinerators must be operated within design limits by trained personnel, and that the unit's performance must be audited. In addition, there is a need for U.S. regulators to establish performance standards for on-board incinerators used to enable Annex V compliance. One option would be for the EPA to accept officially the IMO incinerator standards, which were based in part on specifications submitted by the U.S. delegation. Enhancing Shipboard Technology Development and Use As the preceding summary shows, many on-board garbage handling and treatment options are available. But present technologies are not designed for every type of vessel, because the fleets are too diverse to provide for a commercial equipment market that meets every need. What is required is a mechanism for adapting available technology to the full spectrum of vessel types and, where necessary, developing new technology. The federal government could provide such assistance by establishing a program to develop, test, and evaluate shipboard technologies for wide application. Research on maintenance and operating practices would need to be part of this effort, because problems in these areas have been identified as leading to breakdowns in Annex V compliance (Burby and Patterson, 1993). A possible lead agency is the Maritime Administration (MARAD), which already conducts a broad-based research and development (R&D) effort through its Office of Technology Assessment. Garbage treatment technology would seem to be a pertinent topic for the MARAD program, which, among other things, identifies and stimulates the transfer of advanced technologies from other areas into the maritime environment, and serves as a focal point to bring advanced technical expertise to bear on issues of concern. In addition, the Maritime Administration has five large cargo ships that are supplied to state maritime academies for training purposes. Each ship carries 200-500 persons on two- month voyages. These ships might be used as research platforms for on-board garbage treatment technologies. Another option would be to expand the Navy R&D program to develop onboard garbage handling and treatment technologies for both military and commercial use. Although military technology development has shifted to a dual-use focus, the Navy has yet to develop on-board equipment for commercial fleets. Doing so would correspond to the current administration's emphasis on defense conversion, but it might interfere with the Navy's effort to develop its own environmentally sound fleet. The government also could provide financial assistance for research on and installation of garbage treatment technology. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) already offers similar assistance to the fisheries fleets through its Capital Construction Fund Program. Extending such assistance to cover garbage

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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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