Overview – The Law

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships operational or accidental causes, and prohibits the discharge of all garbage into the sea, except under specific circumstances.

The implementation of the EC Directive on Port Reception Facilities (2000/59/EC) in the UK is achieved through Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Port Waste Reception Facilities) Regulations (2003/1809) as amended. This requires shore side operators to provide suitable facilities for vessels to dispose waste and also produce a Port Waste Management Plan.


All vessels produce waste and they may not discharge this at sea or within the waters of the Crouch Harbour Authority unless in compliance with MARPOL rules and regulations

To this end all vessels must land their waste to the reception facilities provided before they leave the harbour, unless they can prove they have sufficient storage on board to retain the waste until the next port or sewage waste is to be disposed of at sea in accordance with MARPOL.

The discharge of any form of waste into the harbour is strictly prohibited by international legislation. This applies to garbage, oil and any other form of polluting material. The Harbour Master has the power to detain any such vessel suspected of discharging such waste and reporting such vessel to the authorities for prosecution.


The Crouch Harbour ‘Waste Management Plan’ (available upon request) has been produced to comply with Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Port Waste Reception Facilities) Regulations and will be formally reviewed and approval sought from The Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) at intervals not exceeding 3 years.

Certain terminals/berths within the harbour are responsible for compiling their own waste management system and plan, to ensure provision of adequate waste reception facilities for the vessels normally using those establishments and to ensure that the waste is collected by licensed and reputable contractors.

Records of the types and quantities of waste handled must be kept by the terminal/berth Manager and an annual summary provided to the Harbour Master by 31st January of each and every year.

Each individual terminal/berth Manager is responsible for providing up to date information to the Harbour Master on facilities provided on their sites and to notify the Harbour Master of any changes to their plans.


This applies to all vessels with the exception of fishing vessels, recreational craft carrying less than 12 persons, state owned vessels and vessels with a valid MCA exemption certificate.

A copy of a standard notification form is available above.

The information must be passed to the CHA by email attachment to

If the information is provided by the ship’s agent, the Master of the vessel should be aware that he is responsible for ensuring the information is received. The information should be provided 24 hours prior to ship’s arrival or as soon as reasonably practicable if the voyage is less than 24 hours.

Inadequate Facilities

Under UK and MARPOL regulations, ports/terminals/marinas/clubs/boatyards must provide adequate reception facilities to receive the types and quantities of waste from vessels normally using their facility. The CHA will have ongoing consultation with harbour users to ensure that facilities are adequate.

When the Master of a vessel is faced with inadequate facilities within the harbour, he/she should bring it to the attention of the berth operator concerned immediately. If the situation is not resolved he/she should report the matter to the CHA. Using these forms masters or craft owners can indicate the nature of the inadequacy. When a complaint is received by the CHA it will notify the operator so that the problem can be resolved and if necessary follow it up with a visit to the facility in question to discuss improvements to the waste reception facility.