5/2016—Ensuring adequate waste reception facilities

The provision of adequate port waste reception facilities for ship-generated waste is vital to preventing marine pollution.

Supersedes 14/2013

As a Party to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), Australia must ensure that reception facilities are available in ports and terminals, adequate to receive all waste streams that are generated on board a ship during normal operations as a result of the ship’s compliance with MARPOL, including the following:

  • oil, oily waste, oily mixtures, oily bilge water, slops, sludge, oily tank washings, oily cargo residues, ballast water containing oily mixtures;
  • cargo hold washings containing residues of noxious liquid substances carried in bulk;
  • sewage;
  • garbage, as defined in MARPOL Annex V, including dry/bulk cargo residues and cargo-associated waste (such as dunnage and packaging); and
  • ozone depleting substances and exhaust gas cleaning residues.

Arranging for waste reception

Information on arranging for waste reception may be accessed online. Contact points for Australian ports can be accessed through the Port Reception Facilities database within the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) http://gisis.imo.org/Public/

Ships’ crews and agents are encouraged to make waste reception arrangements as far as possible in advance of the ship’s arrival in port, noting that specific service providers’ requirements may vary. The IMO has developed a standard format for the advance notification of waste delivery to port reception facilities for the use of ships’ crews and agents. This form can be found at Appendix 2 to Circular MEPC.1/Circ.834 - Consolidated guidance for port reception facility providers and users.

Following a ships’ use of port reception facilities, the ships’ crews and agents should encourage waste reception facilities service providers to use the IMO standard format for the waste delivery receipt as outlined at Appendix 3 to Circular MEPC.1/834.

The use of the standard advance notification form and waste delivery receipt are not mandatory, however, the use of these forms can simplify documentation for ships visiting multiple ports. If these forms are not used, ships’ crews, agents and waste reception facilities service providers should endeavour to provide equivalent information in alternative documentation.

Reporting inadequacies

Where a ship’s Master or agent finds reception facilities in a port inadequate (for example the facility required is not available or is inconveniently located, has unreasonable charges and/or causes undue delay) the Master should communicate all relevant details using the IMO format for reporting alleged inadequacies of port reception facilities as outlined at Appendix 1 to MEPC.1/Circ.834.

The report should be forwarded to the vessels’ flag State and a copy sent to AMSA (as the port State authority) at the following address:

General Manager 
Australian Maritime Safety Authority 
GPO Box 2181 Canberra ACT 2601


Notification should be made as soon as possible. AMSA will investigate the report with the relevant port and provide information on the outcome of the investigation to the IMO and the flag State.

Guide to best practice

The IMO has developed a Guide to good practice for port reception facility providers and users. This Guide is provided at the Annex to Circular MEPC.1/Circ.834 and is intended to be a practical users’ guide for ships’ crews who seek to deliver MARPOL wastes ashore and for port reception facility providers who seek to provide timely and efficient port reception facilities for ships.
Ships’ crews, agents, port authorities and waste service providers are strongly encouraged to apply best practice as described within the Guide wherever possible.

Shipping companies are also urged to include the information in this Marine Notice in the procedures to be followed by ships’ Masters for shipboard operations as required under Section 7 of the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and Pollution Prevention (ISM Code).

Copies of Circular MEPC.1/Circ.834 can be obtained from the IMO website or by contacting StandardsEnvironment@amsa.gov.au.

Please note that this Marine Notice is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied on for that purpose.

Download Ensuring adequate waste reception facilities—marine notice 5/2016 (PDF 56 KB) PDF55.63 KB

Gary Prosser 
Deputy Chief Executive Officer 
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
January 2016

GPO Box 2181 

Last updated: 21 April 2023