Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Garbage Management Plans, Placards and Record Books

It is mandatory to carry a garbage management plan, display placards and maintain a garbage record book on certain vessels and platforms.

Mandatory requirements for garbage management plans, placards and garbage record books

It is mandatory under Australian maritime legislation  for certain vessels and fixed or floating platforms to carry a Garbage Management Plan, display placards and maintain a Garbage Record Book. These requirements are in accordance with Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) - Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships.

Garbage Management Plans

Garbage Management Plans are mandatory for:

  • vessels of 100 gross tonnage and above;
  • vessels certified to carry 15 or more people; and
  • fixed or floating platforms.

Garbage management plans must include written procedures for minimising, collecting, storing, processing and disposing of garbage.

Garbage Placards

Garbage placards are mandatory for:

  • vessels of 12 m or more in length; and
  • fixed or floating platforms

Placards notify the crew and passengers of the regulations associated with the discharge of garbage into the sea and should be displayed on the vessel where they are visible for both crew and passengers.

There is no standard format for a placard, but AMSA has developed four types that will assist owners and operators comply with these requirements.

Placards are free-of-charge and can be requested from

Garbage Record Books

Garbage Record Books are mandatory for:

  • vessels of 400 gross tonnage and above;
  • vessels certified to carry 15 or more people engaged in international voyages; and
  • fixed or floating platforms

Garbage record books can be purchased at a cost of $4.00 from or local AMSA offices.

A new format of the Garbage Record Book will need to be used from 1 March 2018. From 1 December 2017, all Garbage Record Books purchased from AMSA will be in the new format, however, operators can still use the previous version of the record book until 1 March 2018.

Frequently asked questions

Will I be subject to inspection to ensure there is a Garbage Management Plan, placards and a Garbage Record Book on board?

Yes, your vessel or fixed or floating platform may be subject to inspection by State/NT or Commonwealth officials to ensure a garbage management plan, placards and a garbage record book are on board, as required (see above). Completed garbage record books must be kept for a minimum of two years from the date of the last entry made in it.

Does your Garbage Management Plan need to be approved or certified?

Your plan does not need to be approved or certified, however, Australian legislation requires you to have a plan on board. Your plan needs to be prepared in accordance with the IMO Guidelines for the development of garbage management plans.

What needs to be included in the Garbage Management Plan?

Your Garbage Management Plan needs to include the following sections:

  • designated person or persons in charge of carrying out the plan
  • procedures for collecting garbage
  • procedures for processing garbage
  • procedures for storing garbage
  • procedures for disposing of garbage.

The information and detail in each section will vary based on the size of the vessel/platform and/or the number of persons on board. However, all Garbage Management Plans should include the above five sections.

What other issues should be considered?

When developing a Garbage Management Plan, consider:

  • reducing generated garbage
  • reuse and recycling
  • on board processing
  • use of shore-based facilities for disposal.

Domestic garbage can be minimised through provisioning practices. For example:

  • While bulk-packaged consumable items may create less garbage, inadequate shelf-life once a container is open should be considered to avoid increasing garbage.
  • Reusable packaging and containers can decrease garbage. When possible, use washable items such as crockery, and avoid disposable cups, utensils, plates, towels and rags and other convenience items.

Where practical, using supplies that come in reusable or recyclable packaging should be considered.

What needs to be recorded in the Garbage Record Book?

The details of every garbage discharge or completed incineration need to be recorded in this book. This includes permitted discharges to sea, discharges to onshore facilities, or to other vessels, as well as the accidental loss of garbage overboard.

The entry for each discharge or incineration must include the date and time, position of the ship, category of garbage and estimated quantity discharged or incinerated.

Further information

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