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Ports & Terminals

Photo: Flickr/ Ted McGrath


Port reception facilities

IMO develops and maintains a port reception facility database (PRFD) as a module of the IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) . The PRFD was designed to allow IMO Member States to update the Database via a log-in password, and to allow the public to access all the information in the Database on a view-only basis. Click here to get access to GISIS.

INTERCARGO Database of port reception facilities

Between October 2015 and June 2017, feedback regarding the availability and adequacy of port reception facilities for HME cargo residues and hold washing water has helped INTERCARGO in particular, to build up a database of port reception facilities in 251 ports located in 68 countries/regions and it includes 147 reports that were received between January and June 2017. Amongst the 251 ports referred to, only 31 of them, i.e. approximately 12%, were deemed to possess some level of PRFs. However, even amongst this 12% it was still reported that “adequacy” issues existed in some of them.

There are many elements to promote the availability and adequacy of Port Reception Facilities, including:

  • Incentives provided by of port States governments to encourage ports and terminals to increase investment in the provision of adequate PRFs;
  • Floating plants to be arranged in ports such as barges, in order to reduce discharge times rather than relying on trucks and portable tanks;
  • HME washing water treatment plants to be located as close as possible to ports or PRFs.

INTERCARGO has proposed to IMO in Jul 2017 to introduce a “model port reception facility” concept consolidating all the elements including items listed above, to effectively and consistently promote the establishment and availability of adequate of Port Reception Facilities across all member States.

Revised MARPOL Annex V

In July 2011, MEPC 62 adopted the revised MARPOL Annex V which entered into force on 1 January 2013. Click here for the full text of the revised MARPOL Annex V.

In March 2012, MEPC 63 adopted the 2012 Guidelines for the implementation of MARPOL Annex V (click here for full text) and the 2012 Guidelines for the development of garbage management plans (click here for full text).

Compliance with MARPOL Annex V

The effectiveness of ships to comply with the discharge requirements of MARPOL depends largely upon the availability of adequate port reception facilities, especially within special areas. MARPOL obliges Governments to ensure the provision of adequate reception facilities at ports and terminals for the reception of garbage without causing undue delay to ships, and according to the needs of the ships using them.

An overview of the revised MARPOL Annex V discharge provisions can be accessed here. Exceptions with respect to the safety of a ship and those on board and accidental loss are contained in regulation 7 of Annex V.

Solid bulk cargoes should be classified and declared by the shipper as to whether or not they are harmful to the marine environment, in accordance with the criteria set out in paragraph 3.2 of the 2012 Guidelines for the Implementation of MARPOL Annex V.

Click here for a simplified overview of the regulations regarding the discharge of cargo residues under the revised Annex V.

Cargo residues

Under MARPOL Annex V, cargo residues are defined as the remnants of any cargo which remain on deck or in holds following loading or unloading. They include loading and unloading excess or spillage, whether in wet or dry condition or entrained in wash water, but do not include cargo dust remaining on deck after sweeping or dust on the external surfaces of the ship (regulation 1.2 of the revised Annex V). In addition to this definition, the revised Annex V also stipulates that only those cargo residues that cannot be recovered using commonly available methods for unloading shall be considered for discharge.

Special Areas under MARPOL

Click here to refer to Special Areas under MARPOL





Issue Summary

INTERCARGO supports accurate measurement of quality, the promotion of quality and the eradication of sub-standard shipping. INTERCARGO works with PSC interests to support :-

  • Harmonised standards and training of inspectors
  • Consistent interpretation on what constitutes clear grounds for inspection
  • The raising of standards of all MoUs to those of the global best.

Please click here and use the INTERCARGO Reporting Form to report problems and concerns.


The function of port State control is to ensure that shipping conforms to the regulatory requirements of internationally agreed Conventions.   Of the 9 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) areas plus the US Coast Guard, almost all have publicly accessible targeting matrices, selecting vessels based on empirically defined risks associated with owners past performance, vessel type, flag, age, Classification Society etc.  In the overwhelming majority of cases, targeting and inspection is professionally undertaken leading to a safer and more environmentally friendly Industry.

INTERCARGO fully supports the enforcement of regulation through the PSC process. By making detailed information available to the PSC authorities and all other interested parties through our annual “Benchmarking” Report, INTERCARGO provides a transparent and statistically verifiable statement on the performance of various stakeholders including ships entered by INTERCARGO members, thereby encouraging continuous improvement. The strategic aim of INTERCARGO is therefore to “support the MoU policies of rewarding (through fewer inspections) the owners and operators of vessels that perform highly during PSC inspections and to target/improve the below average stakeholders”.



Traditionally linked to the Criminalisation of Seafarers after accidental pollution, this issue now encompasses other areas where shipowners and seafarers can be adversely affected such as “Places of Refuge”, Amici Curiae measures, other collective legal interventions, Port State Control (PSC) control corruption and national anti-bribery laws.

Firstly considering “Accidental Pollution”, responsible shipowners work very hard to meet all applicable regulations such as IMO’s MARPOL Convention. Deliberate pollution is indefensible but it should be noted that pollution from ships is in long-term decline as the following figures from Industry body, ITOPF (, confirms although these figures refer to tankers and similar vessels only


Quantity (tonnes)











Criminalisation of seafarers is viewed as one of the four principle Round Table issues kept under regular review by the associations.

Historically, INTERCARGO has always voiced its opposition to the criminalisation of seafarers for Accidental Pollution, including adding its name in 2010 to a Round Table paper in support of the “Hebei Spirit” seafarers.  It is iniquitous that seafarers can be arrested as a precautionary measure, contrary to natural justice. Shipping Associations such as INTERCARGO urge all Governments to implement the measures contained in the ILO-IMO Guidelines on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the event of a Maritime Accident” (Resolution LEG 3 (91) adopted on 27 April 2006).

In terms of its support for IMO and the cause of consistent, global regulations, INTERCARGO added its support in 2009 to a group of concerned shipping interests seeking clarification of intent of the 2005 European Union Ship Source Pollution Directive. This then led to a ruling made by the European Court of Justice concerning the overlap between IMO’s MARPOL Convention and regional or national regulations implicit in the EU Directive, demonstrating that owners and their associations can leverage support by acting together in support of their seafarers.