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Full Text: The 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement

Annex 5

Discharges from Vessels

  1. Purpose
  2. Programs and Other Measures
  3. Reporting
  4. Definitions

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A. Purpose

The purpose of this Annex is to contribute to the achievement of the General and Specific Objectives of this Agreement by preventing and controlling vessel discharges that are harmful to the quality of the Waters of the Great Lakes, through the adoption and implementation of regulations, programs, and other measures that facilitate coordinated and cooperative implementation and enforcement, where appropriate.

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B. Programs and Other Measures

The Parties’ responsibility for implementation of this Annex is expected to rest principally with Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies, as appropriate. These responsible authorities shall meet annually to consider issues of this Annex.

The Parties, in cooperation and consultation with State and Provincial Governments, Tribal Governments, First Nations, Métis, Municipal Governments, watershed management agencies, other local public agencies, and the Public, shall adopt programs and measures that:

  • 1. protect the quality of the Waters of the Great Lakes;
  • 2. apply environmental requirements and practices that are protective of the environment and human health, provided that the Parties shall implement this Agreement with due regard for securing the safety of a ship and the passengers and crew, and for saving life on the Waters of the Great Lakes;
  • 3. take into account relevant standards and guidance issued under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO);
  • 4. implement their respective domestic laws and regulations for vessel discharge, taking into account best-available science; and
  • 5. prohibit, and make subject to penalties, as appropriate, discharges from vessels that are harmful to the quality of the Waters of the Great Lakes.

Discharges

The Parties shall address discharges to the Waters of the Great Lakes as follows:

  • 1. prevention of pollution from Oil and Hazardous Polluting Substances:
    • (a) the discharge of a Harmful Quantity of Oil or Hazardous Polluting Substance, including any such quantities as may be contained in Ballast Water, shall be prohibited;
    • (b) as soon as any person in charge has knowledge of any discharge or probable discharge of Harmful Quantities of Oil or Hazardous Polluting Substances, notice of such discharge shall be given to the appropriate agency in the jurisdiction where the discharge occurs; and
    • (c) the programs and measures to be adopted for the prevention of discharges of Harmful Quantities of Oil and Hazardous Polluting Substances shall include:
      • (i) regulations for design, construction, and operation of vessels guided by standards and guidelines developed by the IMO, including the following requirements:
        • (A) that each Vessel shall have a suitable means of containing on board cargo spills of Oil and Hazardous Polluting Substances caused by loading or unloading operations;
        • (B) that each Vessel shall have a suitable means of containing on board fuel Oils spills caused by loading or unloading operations, including those from tank vents and overflow pipes;
        • (C) that each Vessel shall have the capability of retaining on board oily and other wastes accumulated during vessel operation;
        • (D) that each Vessel shall be capable of off-loading retained oily wastes and wastes containing Hazardous Polluting Substances to a reception facility;
        • (E) that each Vessel shall be provided with a means for rapidly and safely stopping the flow of cargo fuel Oil, or waste material during loading, unloading or bunkering operations in the event of an emergency;
        • (F) that each Vessel shall be provided with suitable lighting to adequately illuminate all cargo and fuel Oil handling areas if the loading, unloading or bunkering operations occur at night;
        • (G) that hose assemblies used on board vessels for Oil loading, unloading, or bunkering shall be suitably designed, identified, and inspected to minimize the possibility of failure; and
        • (H) that Oil loading, unloading, and bunkering systems shall be suitably designed, identified, and inspected to minimize the possibility of failure;
      • (ii) identification of vessels carrying cargoes of Hazardous Polluting Substances in bulk, containers, and package form, and of all such cargoes;
      • (iii) identification in vessel manifests of all Hazardous Polluting Substances;
      • (iv) carriage and stowage arrangements of all Hazardous Polluting Substances in packaged form using as a guide the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code; and
      • (v) programs to ensure that merchant Vessel personnel are trained in all functions involving the use, handling, and stowage of Oil and Hazardous Polluting Substances; the abatement of pollution from Oil and Hazardous Polluting Substances; and the hazards associated with the handling of Oil and such substances;
  • 2. Garbage:
    • (a) the discharge of garbage, except for cargo residue, shall be prohibited; and
    • (b) taking into account guidance issued by the IMO, the Parties may establish regulations that require reasonable measures to minimize the discharges of cargo residues;
  • 3. Wastewater and Sewage:
    • (a) the discharge of wastewater in Harmful Quantities shall be prohibited;
    • (b) the Parties shall:
      • (i) control the discharge of sewage from vessels that may affect the quality of the Waters of the Great Lakes; and
      • (ii) develop and implement regulations to require that every vessel operating on the Great Lakes that is provided with toilet facilities shall be equipped with an approved device or devices to contain, incinerate, or treat sewage to an adequate degree; and
    • (c) critical use areas in the Great Lakes basin may be designated where the discharge of wastewater or sewage shall be limited or prohibited;
  • 4. Biofouling:
    • The Parties shall undertake appropriate measures to prevent the release of Aquatic Invasive Species, and pathogens, as a result of biofouling, taking into account guidelines on biofouling developed by the IMO;
  • 5. Antifouling Systems:
    • The Parties shall undertake appropriate measures to prevent harm in the Great Lakes basin from antifouling systems, considering standards and guidelines developed by the IMO;
  • 6. Ballast Water:
    • (a) the Parties shall establish and implement programs and measures that protect the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem from the discharge of Aquatic Invasive Species in Ballast Water, taking into account Annex 6 of this Agreement and, as appropriate, the standards set forth in the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004, and associated guidance; and
    • (b) the Parties shall undertake scientific and economic analysis, when appropriate, on the following:
      • (i) risks posed by the discharge of Ballast Water from Vessels;
      • (ii) Ballast Water management systems in light of the unique characteristics (such as salinity and temperature) of the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem; and
      • (iii) alternative technologies and approaches to protect the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem from Aquatic Invasive Species in Ballast Water discharge.

Reception facilities

The Parties shall, as appropriate, ensure that adequate facilities are provided to receive, treat and dispose of vessel wastes such as Oil and Hazardous Polluting Substances, Garbage, Wastewater, and Sewage, and Ballast Water.

Review of discharges from Vessels

The Parties shall review services, systems, programs, recommendations, standards and regulations relating to shipping activities for the purpose of maintaining or improving the quality of the Waters of the Great Lakes. The review shall include, without limitation:

  • 1. review of vessel equipment, manning, and navigation practices or procedures, and of aids to navigation and vessel traffic management, for the purpose of precluding casualties that may be deleterious to water quality;
  • 2. review of any practices and procedures, shipboard technologies, research and development, effects on water quality, and possible preventative measures that would minimize deleterious effects on water quality for the following discharges:
    • (a) Oil and Hazardous Polluting Substances;
    • (b) Garbage;
    • (c) Wastewater and Sewage;
    • (d) Biofouling;
    • (e) Antifouling Systems; and
    • (f) Ballast Water;
  • 3. review of the number, sufficiency and effectiveness of reception facilities provided for treatment, and subsequent disposal of garbage, sewage, or oil and Hazardous Polluting Substances from vessels; and
  • 4. the Parties shall revise or adopt additional programs and measures, as appropriate, to address findings of the reviews.

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C. Reporting

The Parties shall report on progress toward implementation of this Annex every three years through the Progress Report of the Parties.

The Parties, through their responsible authorities, may provide additional detailed reports to the International Joint Commission about the progress made under this Annex, prior to the International Joint Commission’s Triennial Meeting on Great Lakes water quality. The Parties will make these reports available to the Public.

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D. Definitions

In this Annex:

  • 1. “Antifouling System” means a coating, paint, surface treatment, surface or device that is used on a vessel to control or prevent attachment of unwanted organisms;
  • 2. “Ballast Water” means water with its suspended matter taken on board a vessel to control trim, list, draught, stability or stresses of the ship;
  • 3. “Biofouling” means the accumulation of aquatic organisms such as micro-organisms, plants and animals on surfaces and structures immersed in or exposed to the aquatic environment;
  • 4. “Discharge” includes, but is not limited to, any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting or dumping; it does not include unavoidable direct discharges of Oil from a properly functioning vessel engine;
  • 5. “Garbage” means all kinds of food waste, domestic waste and operational waste, all plastics, cargo residues, cooking oil, fishing gear, and animal carcasses generated during the normal operation of the Vessel and liable to be disposed of continuously or periodically;
  • 6. “Harmful Quantity” means any quantity of a substance that if discharged into receiving water would be inconsistent with the achievement of the General or Specific Objectives of this Agreement;
  • 7. “Harmful Quantity of Oil” means any quantity of Oil that, if discharged from a Vessel that is stationary into clear calm water on a clear day, would produce a film or a sheen upon, or discoloration of, the surface of the water or adjoining shoreline, or that would cause a sludge or emission to be deposited beneath the surface of the water or upon the adjoining shoreline;
  • 8. “Hazardous Polluting Substance” means, subject to Canadian or United States national laws or regulations, any substance which, if introduced into marine or fresh waters is liable to create hazards to human health, to harm living resources and marine life, to damage amenities or to interfere with other legitimate uses of the waters, and includes but is not limited to substances subject to control by the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 as amended by the Protocol of 1978, and those substances subject to control by the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996, when the latter comes into effect, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, as amended, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), as amended, and the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990, as amended, but excluding Ballast Water, Oil, Garbage, and Sewage;
  • 9. “Oil” means Oil of any kind or in any form, including, but not limited to, petroleum, fuel Oil, Oil sludge, Oil refuse, Oil mixed with ballast or bilge water and Oil mixed with waste other than dredged material;
  • 10. “Sewage” means human or animal waste generated on board ship and includes wastes from water closets, toilets, urinals, hospital facilities, or any receptacles intended to receive or retain human or animal waste;
  • 11. “Vessel” means any ship, barge, or other floating craft, whether or not self-propelled, used or capable of being used for marine transportation or navigation; and
  • 12. “Wastewater” means water in combination with other substances, including water used for washing cargo holds, but excluding Ballast Water and water in combination with Oil, Hazardous Polluting Substances or Sewage.
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