On 16 January 2018, the European Commission presented the proposal for a Directive on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships. The proposal is part of the first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics, which aims at protecting the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation.

In particular, the proposed Directive aims to achieve a higher level of protection of the marine environment by reducing waste discharges at sea, as well as improved efficiency of maritime operations in port by reducing the administrative burden and by updating the regulatory framework.

Waste continues to be discharged at sea, with devastating effects on marine ecosystems, especially from garbage disposal. At the same time, the current regime creates an unnecessary administrative burden on ports and port users, mostly caused by inconsistencies with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (the MARPOL Convention). Therefore, the proposed Directive seeks further alignment with the MARPOL Convention, in particular in determining the scope of mandatory delivery in line with the MARPOL discharge norms, which would address the illegal discharges of waste at sea.

The proposed Directive also aims for more consistency with other EU acts, by incorporating the inspections fully within the Port State Control framework, and aligning with Directive 2002/59/EC, that establishes a European vessel traffic monitoring and information system, as regards the monitoring and reporting obligations, through a system of electronic reporting and exchange of information.

The proposed Directive will repeal the current Directive 2000/59/EC on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues, and includes also ancillary changes to Directive 2009/16/EC on Port State Control as well as Directive 2010/65/EU on reporting formalities for ships arriving and/or departing from ports of the Member States.