The aim of Directive 2000/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2000 on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues (PRF-001) is to reduce the discharge of ship-generated waste and cargo residues into the sea, especially illegal discharges, from ships using ports in the Community. This can be done by making available and improving reception facilities.
The Community is seriously concerned about the pollution of seas and shores of EU Member States through (illegal) discharges of ship-generated waste and cargo residues, specifically on the implementation of the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships as amended by the relating Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL 73/78).
MARPOL 73/78 was designed to preserve the marine environment through the complete elimination of pollution by oil and other harmful substances and the minimisation of accidental discharge of such substances. It required the signatories to provide port reception facilities in their ports. MARPOL 73/78 was ratified by all Member States.
In its resolution of 8 June 1993 on a common policy on safe seas, Council identified the development of the availability and use of waste reception facilities in the Community as a priority action.
The pollution of seas is a transnational problem. Taking action at Community level is therefore the most effective way, under the subsidiarity principle, to ensure common environmental standards for ships and ports throughout the whole Community. According to the proportionality principle, a Directive is the appropriate legal instrument, as it provides a framework for uniform and compulsory application of environmental standards by Member States, while each State is free to decide which implementation tools best fit its internal system.
In the interest of improving pollution prevention and avoiding distortion of competition, the environmental requirements should apply to all ships, irrespective of the flag they fly, and adequate reception facilities should be made available in all ports of the Community.
In order to reduce the discharge into the sea, all ships are obliged to transfer their waste to a reception facility prior to departure, unless the ship’s own waste storage capacity suffices to the next port. A compulsory fee system – whether or not waste is transferred – encourages the transfer of ship-generated waste to ports instead of discharge into the sea.
In 1998, the European Commission proposed the file, which went through the entire co-decision procedure until Parliament and Council approved the Directive on 27 November 2000. Member States had to implement the Regulation as from 28 December 2002; with the exemption for sewage (this Directive took effect 12 months after the entry into force of Annex IV of MARPOL 73/78).
At present, the Directive on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues is being revised. EMSA carried out a horizontal assessment in 2009-2010. A stakeholder consultation was completed by mid-2011. The European Commission is currently completing its impact assessment. A proposal for an amended Directive, that also corresponds with the revised MARPOL Annexes V and VI, is expected by the end of 2012 or in spring 2013.
Some relevant documents:
PRF-001: Directive 2000/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2000 on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues (European Parliament and the Council)