22 April 2009

How is garbage collected from ships in Singapore?

As one of the world's busiest ports we need a good garbage collection system if Singapore's waters are to remain clean.
Large ship off Pulau Semakau
A huge ship anchored off Pulau Semakau with Pulau Biola and Raffles Lighthouse in the background.

A Port Marine Notice issued today provides details on how this is done. Here's some extracts

Extracts from Port Marine Notice No. 06 of 2009 dated 21 Apr 09
Facilities for the collection of garbage from ships in Singapore

What is considered garbage?
Garbage means all kinds of victual, domestic and operational waste excluding fresh fish and parts thereof, generated during the normal operations of the ship as defined in Annex V of MARPOL 73/78.
What are the facilities for garbage collection?

Ships at the Anchorages
a) The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) appointed contractor’s garbage collection craft collect garbage from ships in the anchorages daily from 0800hrs to 1700hrs. Ships wishing to use this service should have the refuse properly bagged in plastic garbage bags and have their crew on standby and ready to transfer the bagged garbage into the garbage collection craft that would be calling at the anchored vessels.

b) In the event that a ship has not responded when the garbage collection craft calls, the latter will make another attempt after serving other ships. Alternatively, the ship can request for the service by calling the garbage craft directly using the call sign “Garbage Craft Changi”, “Garbage Craft Eastern”, “Garbage Craft Western” or “Garbage Craft Tuas” on VHF Channel 13 and follow by giving own ship’s name , the name of the anchorage (eg Western Anchorage) and the ship’s GPS position.

c) Ships with large quantities of garbage (in excess of the normal garbage generated daily) may wish to make special arrangement for garbage disposal for which a fee would be charged as indicated in Annex B. This special garbage collection service is also available daily from 0800hrs to 1700hrs.
Ships elsewhere
f) For practical and safety reasons, oil and chemical terminals do not provide garbage collection services at their facilities. In such circumstances, the ship may wish to arrange for a special garbage collection service at the anchorage.
How much does special garbage collection cost?
(i) $900 per bin (Size of bin = 4.4m x 2.4m x 1.5m) or part Disposal of garbage thereof per trip

(ii) $1,200 per 2 bins or part there per trip
What about ships discharging waste into the water?
from Port authority takes pollution from ships seriously Straits Times Forum 2 Jan 09;
MPA strictly enforces regulations governing the prevention of pollution from ships calling at our port. These regulations are based on the International Maritime Organisation's International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, and comprehensively cover oil, chemicals, harmful substances in packaged forms, sewage, garbage and even air pollution from ships.

We monitor ships in port to ensure they comply with the regulations and do not discharge waste into the water. Prosecution will be taken against a ship master if the ship infringes these regulations.

Additionally, an MPA-appointed contractor provides a daily garbage collection service for the ships anchored in our port. This contractor also operates another fleet of craft that monitors and retrieves floating debris from the sea.
What about other forms of shipping pollution?
from Singapore Maritime and Port Authority doing its best for a cleaner planet Business Times 16 Oct 08;
Despite the high volume of bunker and shipping traffic that passes through the port, Singapore has implemented various measures to encourage environment-friendly shipping. Among them is the extension of the port dues waiver for new double- hulled bunker tankers operating within its waters from April 1. (Last year, bunker sales in the Port of Singapore hit 31.5 million tonnes, surpassing the previous year's figure by 11.2 per cent.)

The port dues surcharge for older single-hulled bunker tankers will also be increased from next year.

Singapore is also a party to all the annexes of MARPOL, which is the IMO's convention for the prevention of pollution from ships. As a flag state and port state authority, Singapore carries out regular inspections to ensure that Singapore-flagged ships around the world and ships calling at our port comply with MARPOL regulations. MPA also regularly communicates with the shipping community to prevent any excessive emission of soot, ash or black smoke while their ships are in port.

MPA also tries to reduce pollution from port activities by conducting environmental impact assessment studies before activities such as dredging and reclamation are carried out, so that the potential impact arising from these works is identified and quantified.

All vessels transporting dangerous cargoes and calling at the port are also required to declare their arrival at least 24 hours before arrival. This helps to ensure an effective response should there be an incident involving spillage from the ships.

Where does most of the rubbish that washes up on our shores come from?
from News from the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, looking at the data from the 2008 coastal cleanup (mangroves), it appears that shoreline and recreational activities account for the bulk of the rubbish found on our shores.

Unfortunately, out of sight out of mind seems to be the attitude of many shore users. This applies to 'accidental' littering, as well as deliberate release of stuff into the environment.

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