With well over 600 individual EU ports handling around 90% of EU external trade, around 40% of trade between EU countries, and considerable through trade, waste management is a serious business in the European Union. Firstly, appropriate methods need to be in place to manage the waste and, secondly, ships must be encouraged to use these facilities rather than to discharge waste into the sea.
With these things in mind, the European Community set in place Directive 2000/59/EC on port reception facilities with the aim of substantially reducing discharges of ship-generated waste and cargo residues into the sea. The Directive is especially aimed at reducing illegal discharges from ships using ports in the Community, by improving the availability and use of port reception facilities, thereby enhancing the protection of the marine environment. This is not a new concept, and was previously addressed by the Marpol 73/78 Convention in 1973, although Member States are still encountering difficulties in fully implementing the requirements. In addition to all of this, the overall situation is changing, with more and more through traffic, particularly oil tankers, travelling through EU waters without calling at ports to discharge their waste. With EMSA's assistance, it will be necessary to continually adjust EU legislation to take changing transport patterns into account.
Currently, EMSA is assisting the European Commission in: