News | March 23, 2022

Management Of Waste Produced By Merchant Ships And Their Crews

Vancouver, BC (BUSINESS WIRE) - Every year, more than 55,000 merchant ships navigate inland, coastal and international waters around the world, carrying essential cargo on which we all depend. As they transit from port to port, these ships generate a variety of waste and residual materials, from lubricating oils to sewage, bilge residues and garbage.

The often ambiguous issue of waste management and disposal by ships is the subject of a new bilingual French-English guide developed by the Clear Seas Center for Responsible Shipping (Clear Seas). The tool allows users to explore the different types of waste that merchant ships and their crews produce in the course of their daily operations and to become familiar with the regulations governing the disposal of these residual materials in Canadian waters and international.

The web guide can be viewed here .

The guide transports users aboard a cargo vessel where they are invited to explore the different waste streams, including gray and bilge water. It also provides information on how residues from bilge pumps and cargo holds are handled and how their management is regulated. The guide answers frequently asked questions about ship-generated waste, including how certain standards for disposal are determined.

As shipping makes headlines for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, the industry is also moving toward zero-waste practices and operations. This is the case of Desgagnés, a maritime transport company based in Quebec, which is working to make Belle Desgagnés the first Canadian ship to generate no waste destined for sanitary landfill.

Other zero-waste initiatives exist under Green Marine's environmental certification program, which encourages marine industry players to reduce their environmental footprint. Participants – shipowners, port authorities and operators of marine terminals and shipyards – must put in place a series of measurable initiatives to achieve and maintain their certification. Fourteen performance indicators are used by Green Marine to assess the actions taken by participants to counter air, soil and water pollution.

The practical guide to the management of waste from commercial ships developed by Clear Seas is a reference for all those who are concerned about the environmental impacts of ships and the regulations in place to mitigate them.

About Clear Seas
Clear Seas is an independent, not-for-profit research center that provides objective information on shipping in Canada to policy makers and the public. Its research program is determined internally based on current issues, reviewed by a research committee and approved by a board of directors. All Clear Seas work is available at

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