Ban will prevent biological and economic damage to marine ecosystem and coastal
The Baltic Sea can breathe easy in the future. From 2019 onwards, cruise ships and passenger ferries are no longer permitted to discharge untreated sewage into the Baltic Sea, as decreed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London on 22 April 2016.
The WWF welcomes the decision, regarding it as an long-overdue milestone in the protection of the Baltic Sea. “Finally, the disposal of insufficiently treated wastewater from passenger ships in the Baltic Sea has been stopped. The mandatory deadline is a relief for both the people of the Baltic Sea and the ecosystem,” said Mr Jochen Lamp in German. He is the Head of the Baltic Sea Project office at WWF.
The new regulation will affect new vessels from June 2019 onwards. For those ships currently in service, they would need to comply by 2021; a special extension period to 2023 has been granted for ships in Russian waters. The date of the ban has been under discussion for years, and the IMO has only now managed to agree to its implementation.
WWF calls on the shipping companies and ports not to delay but to work hard towards meeting the necessary facilities on board their ships and construct the proper method of disposal at the ports as soon as possible, said Lamp.
Every year, eighty million people travel on cruise ships and passenger ferries. A quarter of all sewage produced on board the international cruise ships is mostly disposed off into the Baltic Sea, without first treating it. As a result, the unremoved nitrates and phosphates can lead to the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea, causing algal mats and low-oxygen dead zones to form on the seabed. This causes biological and economic damage to the marine environment and coastal areas.