T.S. Patriot State Engineering Manual

Patriot State was the training ship of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy from 1986 to 1998.

Pollution Prevention

To reduce pollution of the world's coasts and waters by the shipping industry, a great number of laws, regulations and penalties have been established and are being enforced. These include regulations set forth by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL 73/78 Annex I), the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1970 (FWPCA), and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90).

Of greatest interest aboard the training ship are the regulations concerning the pumping of machinery space bilges. The law, as established by MARPOL 73/78 ANNEX I, for ships of four hundred gross tons and above, defines permissible discharge of oil or oily waste from machinery space bilges and fuel oil tank ballast water, as follows:

  1. When the vessel is anywhere within a "Special Area" which includes the entire Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Baltic Sea, Red Sea, and Gulf Areas; No Discharge is permitted, except when:
    1. The vessel is underway, and
    2. the ship is operating an oil content monitor, oil separating or filtering device which will automatically stop discharging when the oil contend of the effluent exceeds 15 parts per million (ppm), and
    3. the oil content of the effluent without dilution does not exceed 15 ppm.
  2. Outside of the "Special Areas," and more than 12 nautical miles from land, the requirements are the similar to the ones above except that the oil content of the effluent discharge is relaxed to 100 ppm. In addition, discharge is permitted when the vessel is not underway, if the oil content of the effluent does not exceed 15 ppm
  3. Outside of the "Special Areas," and less than 12 nautical miles from land, No Discharge is permitted except when the oil content of the effluent without dilution does not exceed 15 ppm.

The MARPOL regulations are more restrictive for oil tankers, and slightly more flexible for vessels of less than 400 gross tons. Before pumping bilges on your license, make sure you understand the law.

It is no longer legal anywhere in the world to pump machinery space bilges directly overboard without going through some kind of oil content monitor that will automatically stop the discharge when the legal limits are exceeded!

In addition, U.S. laws prohibit any discharge which forms a sheen, sludge, film, or emulsion in U.S. territorial seas. Such seas are defined by the navigable waters, including river systems and tributaries or into or upon waters of the contiguous zone. An unlawful discharge or act may be prosecuted by the Department of Justice in Federal District Court. Penalties set down by OPA 90 and the FWPCA are generally up to $25,000 per day of violation or $1,000 per barrel discharged. The master of the ship must immediately notify the nearest Coast Guard of an unlawful discharge and proceed in the clean up. Gross negligence or willful misconduct could cause penalty costs to triple.

MARPOL regulations also require every vessel to maintain an Oil Record Book, where a permanent record of almost every handling of oil or oil waste is maintained. For non tank vessels, the following operations must be recorded in the oil record book:

Additional regulations regarding the transfer of oil to or from a vessel were established by the FWPCA and OPA 90. They state that no person may perform oil transfer operations unless he holds a valid license authorizing service on such vessels as a master, mate, or engineer, and has full knowledge of current oil transfer procedures that are maintained aboard that vessel.

During vessel-to-vessel transfers each tank vessel with a capacity of 250 or more barrels of cargo oil must have a means that enables continuous two way communication between the person in charge of the transfer of operations on both vessels.

There must be onboard an emergency means to enable a person in charge of an oil transfer operation to stop the flow of oil to a facility, another vessel or within the vessel. This maybe by the means of the pump control, quick acting power actuated valve or an operating procedure. There must be adequate and protected lighting in areas of oil transfer operation.

It is your responsibility as a marine engineer to know, understand, and obey the law.

Direct comments to William Haynes whaynes@maritime.edu
Mon, Jul 1, 1996
TSPS Engineering Manual ©1995 Massachusetts Maritime Academy