Baltic port members stepping up to the challenge of PRF
Cruise Europe (CE) members in the Baltic have been reporting for some time that they are taking the new situation with regard to port reception facilities [PRF] for waste very seriously.
The special area restrictions according to IMO Marpol Annex IV come into force for new passenger vessels on June 1 2019 and for existing passenger ships on June 1 2021. The Baltic Sea is a highly sensitive marine ecosystem which is under constant threat of pollution from a variety of human activity both on land and sea.
“Considerable investments are being made all over the Baltic region. The marquee Baltic cruise ports all offer reception facilities now, and by 2019 the majority of cruise ports in the region will have the necessary waste infrastructure,” commented Michael McCarthy, chairman CE.
At the CE conference in Dublin last year, David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK, commented: “We still require that wastewater facilities are established in Baltic ports with adequate capacity at every berth used by cruiseships. The Baltic worries me, we see increasing regulations, and it is getting harder to operate ships there.”
Cruise Europe has asked all its members in the Baltic region for the current status and also future plans for PRF. Twenty-one have reported back to us that they are ready to offer facilities for discharge either now or by 2019. As can be seen from below a mixture of pipe and truck reception is available with widely-ranging handling capacities on offer.
Carnival UK has recently participated in an exercise with other CLIA member lines to see how well the Baltic ports are prepared for the imposition of the Baltic Sea Special Area 2019/2021 but until the results have come in and been analysed no comment will be made.
“We are aware that CLIA are monitoring the situation and Cruise Europe are prepared to work very closely with the lines and CLIA to make sure the region is prepared for the new regulations,” explained Jens Skrede, managing director CE.
PRF are a significant investment for any port which means some of the smaller ports may be reluctant to push forward with developments in the same way as the bigger ones. However it is possible that in future those without will not be included on itineraries. Although a cruiseship is designed to keep waste for about 24 hours, any alteration to an itinerary could potentially result in the need to illegally discharge into the Baltic Sea which would be unacceptable.
Aalborg is one of those small ports but one that has decided to invest in new facilities. Michael Rosenkilde Lund, cruise manager Port of Aalborg, commented: “It is a major investment in the cruise segment and a leap of faith from our side, and we hope that the cruiselines will recognise it.”