MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), through its Circular No. SR-2020-02, has required the Philippine-registered ships to have an adequate design facility for Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and holding tank, in compliance with the Annex IV of MARPOL 73/78, as amended where the country is a State Party to convention.

Under the said Circular, this will apply to ships of 400 gross tonnage and above, and ships below 400 gross tonnage and certified to carry more than 15 persons including its crew.

Passenger bancas and service boats with travel time of less than three (3) hours carrying 15 passengers and below, and non-propelled barge are exempted.

The STP refers to a facility that treats the sewage on a ship and makes it capable of being discharged into the sea, while the holding tank is used for the collection and storage of sewage. Philippine-registered ships will be able to promote effective control of all sources of marine pollution, and to take all practicable steps to prevent pollution of the sea by dumping of wastes.

On the other hand, referring to the MARPOL Convention, its Annex IV contains the set regulations regarding the discharge of sewage into the sea from ships, including regulations regarding the ships’ equipment and systems for the control of sewage discharge, the provision of port reception facilities for sewage, and requirements for survey and certification.

Based on the Circular, all Philippine-registered ships for construction shall submit to the MARINA the installation plan for holding tank and/or STP including the discharge pipeline incorporated to the Engine Room Arrangement Plan and Piping Plan for verification and approval.

All existing ships without holding tank, comminuting/ disinfecting system and/or STP shall comply with the said Circular within the next dry-docking period, and shall be required to submit to the MARINA and/or their Recognized Organizations the modified Engine Room Arrangement Plan incorporating the holding tank and/or STP including the discharge pipeline for approval subject to actual verification and issuance of Safety Construction Certificate indicating the installation of the holding tank or sewage treatment plant.

In case the stability of the ship is affected by the said fittings, a re-inclining experiment test, re-calculation of freeboard and other related issuances shall be required by the MARINA.

All ships to be imported must have a holding tank, comminuting/ disinfecting system and/or STP in compliance with MARPOL ANNEX IV with a valid International Sewage Pollution Prevention (ISPP) Certificate.

All existing ships with holding tank and/or STP shall also be required to submit to the MARINA and/or their Recognized Organizations the Schematic Diagram of the holding tank and/or STP including the discharge pipeline for verification and approval.

The Guidelines for the approval of the ship STP is based on an issuance of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), particularly Resolution MEPC 2(VI), MEPC 159(55), MEPC 227(64) Guidelines on Implementation of Effluent Standards and Performance Tests for Sewage Treatment Plants (STP), as amended.

Vessels below 400 GT carrying more than 15 persons with fixed or portable toilet system shall be fitted with fixed or portable holding tanks and shore connection to discharge pipe approved by the Administration.

With the implementation of this policy, the MARINA re-assures the public and to the international maritime community of its obligation for the continued protection of the country’s marine environment through proper management and disposal of wastes generated while at sea.

Copy of the relevant MARINA Circular can be viewed and downloaded HERE.