Shipowners call for better European port reception facilities

European shipowners have issued a position paper on the upcoming revision of the Port Reception Facilities (PRF) Directive adopted in 2000 as a reaction to the recently published ‘inception Impact Assessment’ by the European Commission. In the paper, the shipping industry calls among others for adequate and sufficient port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and harmful cargo residues, a more transparent and fair fee system as well as an efficient monitoring and enforcement mechanism.

The PRF Directive transposes requirements of the MARPOL Convention into EU law. Its stated objective is to reduce the discharge of ship-generated waste and cargo residues at sea by requiring Member States to ensure that reception facilities are available in ports so as to collect these types of waste. Unfortunately, this obligation is not fulfilled, as there is a lack of adequate and sufficient facilities in EU ports, prompting the Commission to revise the Directive.

Moreover, the fees charged by some ports are neither transparent nor, in some cases, fair. A reasonable and functional fee system is required, fulfilling some minimum requirements and giving a fair incentive to the shipowners to deliver waste ashore.

“For the Directive to be effective, adequate port reception facilities must be available in EU ports. These facilities must also be able to handle new types of waste resulting from stricter environmental requirements such as ballast water and scrubber waste” commented Patrick Verhoeven, Secretary-General of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA).

“The next step is to ensure that the fee paid to the port of call is structured in such a way that it encourages shipowners to deliver ship’s waste to the appropriate facility”.

European shipowners also call for a more pragmatic approach on the issue of waste disposal from ships. Ships engaged in short sea shipping i.e. travelling short distances and calling frequently at EU ports as well as ships with enough storage capacit  do not need to dispose of their waste at every single port call. Therefore the revised PRF Directive should clarify the exceptions & exemptions regime by offering more flexibility to the shipowners without endangering the goals of the PRF Directive.

Commenting on the implementation of the Directive, Benoit Loicq, Director of Maritime Safety and Environment at ECSA said: “The monitoring and enforcement mechanism needs to be efficient. It should be based on inspections but also on an electronic system that will allow shipowners to report inadequacies of PRF but also receive information on the availability of PRF before calling at an EU port”.

ECSA pursues the following objectives:

1. Adequacy of port reception facilities (PRF) for ship-generated waste and harmful cargo residues, preferably 24/7. This includes the development of facilities to cover new types of waste induced by stricter environmental requirements by taking into consideration that these types of waste may evolve in time as the technology evolves;

2. A reasonable, harmonised and functional fee system that fulfills some minimum requirements, and constitutes a fair incentive to shipowners to deliver waste ashore;

3. Clarification of the exceptions & exemptions regime: without endangering the goals of the PRF directive, more flexibility can be offered not only to short sea vessels engaged in scheduled traffic but also in tramp services as well as to all vessels when having sufficient dedicated storage capacity;

4. Better enforcement of MARPOL provisions on harmful cargo residues without introducing additional requirements in the revised PRF directive;

5. Proper enforcement of the PRF directive through an efficient monitoring and enforcement mechanism with inspections but also through an electronic system that will allow shipowners to report on PRF inadequacies but also receive information on the availability of PRF prior to a port of call

Click below to read ECSA’s position paper