Rubbish in many ships increasing as ports bar garbage disposal during the pandemic

Seafarers have had to put up with a huge amount during the pandemic. To add to their woes, many ships are getting stinky as ports refuse to allow rubbish to be offloaded.

Writing on LinkedIn, Graeme Somerville-Ryan, the founder of Eyesea, a global rubbish mapping project, posted the photo above.

“This is a makeshift garbage room (midship storeroom), completely full,” Somerville-Ryan explained. The image was sent to him by a vessel that has been unable to fully offload rubbish and waste in nearly a year due to port and country regulations.

“These same ports are happy to sell stores – and fine vessels for sanitation failings – but will not offload rubbish,” Somerville-Ryan argued.

Reacting to the post, Peter Schellenberger, vice president at Thome Group, said that the issue was an often neglected part of the maritime supply chain.

Mike Powell, strategy director at British tech firm StratumFive, commented: “At a time when shipping’s environmental impact is under a lot of scrutiny it is timely to point out coastal state failures to provide the support required.”

It is timely to point out coastal state failures to provide the support required

The issue is most keenly felt for ships trading in Asia. In Europe, most ports include offloading rubbish in their harbour fees.

Ship masters can report inadequate port reception facilities to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

To minimise rubbish and for efficient storage, seafarers can utilise compactors, incinerators where permitted, and mini refrigerators for storing food wastes. However, when denied the possibility of offloading this waste for many months on end even the largest ships struggle to handle such a rubbish buildup.

Copyright 2022

Mr Sam Chambers