Apart from the publication of the ship recycling regulation (cfr. further in this issue), 2013 saw little or no progress in European marine environmental legislation, even though EU-regulations concerning ship generated waste and cargo residues are long overdue. With the EU elections this coming May, 2014 promises to do no better than the last year, as all legislative initiatives will have to wait till the new EU Commission will have settled in.

IMO steps up the pace

Since the publication of the EU Directive 2000/59 on disposal of ship generated waste and cargo residues in December 1999, IMO has revised the MARPOL-convention at several occasions. As of January 2013 the disposal of cargo residues under the MARPOL Convention has become much stricter with extended and more detailed waste notifications and waste receipts. Also in 2013, an Annex VI to the MARPOL-convention came into force, and a GISIS-database of port reception facilities has been set up.

EU lags behind

In order to follow these international developments, the EU needs to amend its Directive. The last couple of years, the revision has been announced in workshops and seminars dealing with this topic. And, as of yet, no draft has been launched.

Amended Directive & guidelines now

To apply the EU Directive 2000/59 uniformly throughout Europe, the Commission is considering the launch of Guidelines. We hope 2014 will bring wings, wisdom and speed to the Commission. And that this year – with an amended Directive and strict Guidelines –we can improve the quality of our seas and in the sustainability of maritime transport.