Marpol Annex 5

Marpol Annex 5 And Its Latest Amendments

Last Updated on May 26, 2020 by Amit Abhishek

Marpol Annex 5 states for the regulation and prevention of marine pollution due to ships garbage. It came into force on 31st December 1988 with new improved regulation for disposing garbage at sea. The original Marpol annex 5 ( 1988 version ) only prohibits disposal of plastics at sea with regulation for other garbage in coastal waters.

The revised Marpol annex 5 that came into force on January 1 2013 prohibits disposal of all garbage at sea with exception of food and other environment friendly waste under specific regulations. The law also allow for disposing waste ( garbage ) at sea under emergency condition to maintain stability and safety of life. These law are further revised under 2018 amendment as discussed below.

What can be Considered as Garbage?

The Marpol annex 5 states the definition of garbage to be all domestic, victual and operational waste including food; that is generated on board ship during its normal operation. In simple English, garbage can be anything which is plastic, packing material, paper products, rags, metal, glass, crockery, cargo residue, food waste, incinerator ash and many others; which does not came under other Marpol annexes such as sewage, oil and noxious substance in liquid form.

According to the amended annex 5 ( Regulation 3 ) of 2013; All garbage on board ship have to be grouped into following categories:

  1. Plastics:- Any garbage that contains, consist or include plastic in any form such as synthetic ropes, net, poly-bags, packing material etc came under this category.
  2. Waste food product:- Any fresh or spoiled food can be discharged at sea; following condition for discharge under Marpol annex 5.
  3. Cooking Oil:- All cooking oil of any form ( natural or animal ); which is used for cooking are prohibited to discharge at sea.
  4. Domestic Waste:- Anything that you produce during stay in accommodation came under domestic waste such as canes, bottles, paper, board, food packets etc.
  5. Incinerator waste:- All ash generated by the incinerator other than burning plastic came into this category.
  6. Fishing Gear:- Any device or equipment which are / can be used for the purpose of capturing fish came under this category.
  7. Animal waste:- Dead body either in the form of meat, body or animal parts came under this category. Animal waste are also referred to this category which can be discharged at sea under specific circumstances.
  8. Operation & Cargo Waste:- Operation wastes are solid waste such as cleaning agent, additives and washing water collected during normal operation of the ship. While cargo wastes are the residual cargo left after cargo operation. They can be discharged at sea provided they follow certain requirements.
  9. Mixed Waste:- When different grades or category of garbage is mixed they are called mixed waste. There wastes are not allowed to discharge under normal condition but allowed with more stringent condition / requirement applied.

Marpol Annex 5 Regulation 3 Guidelines for Outside Special Area

Disposal of all allowed categories must be kept as low as possible at site as far as possible from the nearest land; and must be prohibited if this distance is less than:-

  • 25 Nautical miles for packing material, dunnage and other such garbage.
  • 12 Nautical mile for garbage containing food waste, paper product, bottles, glass, crockery, metal etc.
  • All other garbage as stated in the sub regulation b-2 are permitted only if passed through a grinder and discharge; minimum 3 nautical mile from nearest land.
  • Cleaning agent and additives used for ship operation are allowed to discharge at any condition; but advised to do so as far as possible from the nearest land or floating platforms engaged in offshore industries.

Special Areas

Special Areas established under the Marpol annex 5 are:-

  1. Red Sea
  2. Black Sea
  3. The Baltic Area
  4. Mediterranean Sea
  5. Gulf Areas
  6. North Sea
  7. The Wider Caribbean ( Reason including Caribbean sea and Gulf of Mexico ).
  8. Antarctic Region

Special Mandatory mode of pollution prevention and control by garbage is adopted under annex 5; to safeguard the ecological and oceanographic structure of these regions. These areas are recognized or marked out on the basis of maritime traffic, water exchange, ice condition and number of endangered species.

Garbage Record Book

Marpol Annex 5 states that all ships with more than 15 crew with more than 100 gross ton along with fixed / floating sea platforms are required to have a garbage management plan. The plan must be made following the guidelines of IMO and should contain written procedures; for collection, storage, reduction, processing and disposal of garbage on board at ship or sea platforms.

The plan must be developed and available in the working language of the crew with a person responsible for maintaining it. The plan also call for maintaining a garbage record book for ships above 400 gross tonnage with minimum of 15 crew. It is required to make entry in this book after each garbage discharge; into sea, to the reception facility ashore, incinerated and during accidental discharge or emergency.

Each Garbage Record Book must include the name of the ship, IMO, date, time, ship position, estimated discharge or incinerated. Each complete page should be then get signed by the master and kept on board ship for at least next 2-3 years for inspection.

Garbage Recor Book Sample
Image Created By Ciacho5 [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons

How to fill in the New Garbage Record Book?

Under Latest 2018 amendment of Marpol annex 5; the garbage record book is separated into two; ( one regular and other specially for cargo residue ). The regular record book is also revised to add a new category i.e E-Waste foe all electronic waste including electronic component, equipment, parts and accessories. All other detail including the procedure of filling garbage recored book is remained similar under revised MEPC 277 (70) Resolution.

For Example; suppose we have discharged some garbage to the reception facility ashore. Now to fill the record book we will start from date and time for discharge in the left most column. Name of ship / port at second followed by discharge category at third and amount of discharge at the forth column.

At the last designated officer have to sign at the right most column of the book. In some condition such as incinerated or discharge at sea; you also have to fill the fifth, sixth and seventh column of the garbage record book. For part two of the amended garbage record book you also need to enter the discharge start and end position of ship.

Marpol Annex 5 – 2018 Amendments

The revised Marpol Annex 5 under regulation MEPC 70 came into effect on march 1,2018. The main change included addition of additional category ( E-Waste ) in the garbage record book; with the added criteria to determine  and judge cargo residue based on the extent of harm they do to the marine environment.

The new law put different restriction on different types of cargo residue; for example residue containing less harmful substance for the environment have lesser restriction on discharge than of other harmful residues. The whole structure of garbage record book is revised to make separate parts for cargo residue of bulk / cargo ship. And another set for the all other garbage applicable for whole merchant fleet ( Meaning all kinds of ships ).

Apart from these major changes only one more gradual change is made in the amended version other than simple revisions such as definition change ( Changed but almost same ) and renumbering paragraph of the annex. That one more important change is the revision of categories under the garbage record book to add one major and two minor categories in the list.

The new categories of Garbage Record Book Include:
  1. Plastic
  2. Domestic Waste
  3. Incinerator
  4. Waste Food Products
  5. Cooking Oil
  6. Animal Carcasses or waste
  7. Operational Waste
  8. Fishing instruments
  9. E-Waste ( NEW )
  10. Cargo residue non harmful to marine environment ( NEW )
  11. Cargo residue harmful to marine environment ( NEW )

Important: Category one ( 1 ) to nine ( 9 ) of garbage record book came under part one ( 1 ) of the book applicable to all ships. While category Ten ( 10 ) and eleven ( 11 ) came under part two ( 2 ) of the amended garbage record book applicable only to ships carrying dry cargo. 

Additional Information

You can visit the official and un-official version of the final resolution MEPC 277 ( 70 ) which was adopted on October 28, 2016 and came into effect on march 1, 2018 at following Links Below:

Official Release

Un-Official Release ( Although both content is same; but we do not take responsibility upon quality and associated data of this link. )

Also Read:

Why not Request your own Topic !

10 thoughts on “Marpol Annex 5 And Its Latest Amendments”

  1. Very instructive and would be glad to learn more on new or amended regulations implementation on Marpol for category number 11. For example what has changed and is the procedures to dispose of Cargo residue harmful for environment remain the or there’s any additional processes added?

    1. Under 2013 amendment there was only slight introduction about the cargo residue harmful to marine environment. For example cargo residue were termed to be hazardous but no further detailed classification was given with proper disposal method other than transferring it to shore facilities. But under new revised convention A residue of solid cargo is considered harmful if it came under the category of United Nations Globally Harmonized System for chemicals ( It contains 7 different sub category ). The residue must be transfered to shore facilities when possible; if discharged must be as far as possible from the nearest land ( minimum 12 nautical miles ). The new law also made water collected after washing such hold ( for solid cargo ) un-harmful for the environment under Appendix 1 of the new law.

    1. Marpol annex 5 or V came into force for the all not military ship and vessel ( which mean any floating commercial or not commercial ship, yatch or platform ) of the signed countries. As of present there are total 150 countries who are signed on Marpol annex V.

  2. Why is e-waste not listed as part of the definition of garbage in MARPOL? Seems like an afterthought added to the Garbage Record Book and to MEPC.1/Circ.834/Rev.1 issued in 2018. Or is it just considered waste generated during the normal operation of the vessel? Seems special consideration for proper disposal to a land based reception facility should be made…but there doesn’t seem to be in anything in the US regs about this…Curious to hear your thoughts

    1. If you really go through the Marpol regulation specifically 5 in both recent and last version you will find as i did during researching for this article that; many a things are just copied and paste from last update. They just change the order of regulation and added a few new one. So yes although even in official release they have a separate section on e-waste and their management on board but there is very little to no information on e-waste in start and official definition. That is the reason why even the updated garbage records books don’t have them. I have provided the link to the official document to read for more information. I know its lengthy but some times we have to dig deep to find the things we look for.

    1. E.waste = Electronic waste for example chipset, I.C, cell phones, Microprocessor etc. In simple any electronic instrument that is damaged and not in use.

    1. The actual color codes for different categories of waste on a ship can be found from the garbage management plan of the shipping company. But in general, on many ships color, “Red” is reserved for plastic waste, “Green” for food waste, “yellow” for flammables, “blue” for non-flammables like the metal cans or glass, “black” for ash and white/grey for the E-waste.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *