The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (referred to as MARPOL 73/78), was designed to minimize pollution of the seas. It covers, among other aspects, dumping of waste, exhaust and oil pollution. There are exemption clauses for warships and auxiliaries due to their specialist roles, extreme space constraints, large numbers of embarked personnel and the increased occupational health and safety risk of retaining wastes onboard.
Maintaining high levels of naval capability cannot be done without some impact on the environment. However, Navies around the world are making major efforts to minimize the impact of their activities on the marine environment by putting in place measures which produce results at least as good as those required by law. Growing environmental awareness in many countries is resulting in pressure from public opinion.
An important focus is the protection of marine species, including marine mammals. Navies are implementing measures to protect marine mammals during Naval operations at sea.
Effective and appropriate environmental management offers financial and operational benefits to Navies, through savings in areas such as fuel, electricity, water and waste management costs, plus, avoidance of contamination clean up programmes.
There are many solid and liquid waste streams generated onboard naval vessels, such as waste oil, black water, grey water, bilge water, dry waste, and food and galley waste. The policy of many Navies is to review commercially available environmental equipment and systems for potential applicability to Navy vessels.
When it comes to onboard waste handling, important factors are automation and minimized crew engagement. Waste handling systems and equipment must be robust and reliable enough to continue operating for long periods and in the toughest conditions.
Dry waste and food waste
Influencing factors relating to handling dry waste and food and galley waste are the ship’s operating profile, the number of people onboard, length of time between port calls and amount of storage space available. Waste accumulates fast and onboard incineration is increasingly regulated.
In a modern waste management system, dry waste is separated into fractions onboard the ship to allow for recycling, and the volume is reduced by crushing, shredding and compaction. This reduces transportation and disposal costs. Waste handling from ship to port/waste station is optimized.
Doorways on Naval vessels have high thresholds, therefore it is important that waste handling systems allow for waste to be carried manually in some parts of the ship, rather than being wheeled around.
Food waste is collected and ground where it is produced. Thus the work for the crew is minimized and proper hygiene is maintained in the galley. If landed, ground food waste can be sent to plants that produce biogas.
Waste handling solutions from Uson Marine
Uson Marine designs, configures and supplies advanced waste handling solutions specifically for Naval vessels. These enable Navies to reduce the cost and simplify the logistics of waste handling and disposal while giving the vessels greater operational flexibility. Uson’s solutions can easily be retrofitted into existing vessels.
Uson Marine has the experience, know-how and resources to meet all Naval quality demands, and experience of naval working procedures from initial idea to delivery. Uson Marine offers a professional consultancy service for Navies considering investing in modern, environmentally friendly waste management systems for newbuildings or for retrofitting into existing ships.