May 14, 2007

Feds finalize new rules for pollution prevention from ships

Transport Canada has finalized new and marine regulations designed to better protect Canadian waters from pollution. The Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and for Dangerous Chemicals "align Canadian practices with international standards, making Canada a leader in the prevention of marine pollution," stated federal Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Lawrence Cannon.

With their publication in the in the May 16, 2007 edition of the Canada Gazette, Part II, Canada will now have consolidated zero-tolerance national regulations under the Canada Shipping Act. The new regulations incorporate existing requirements under the Act and international marine standards, and introduce new requirements that are necessary for Canada to conclude its adoption of all the optional provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and to adopt the Anti-Fouling Systems Convention.

The new rules apply to all boats in all waters in Canada and will help eliminate the deliberate, negligent, or accidental discharge of pollutants from ships into the marine environment. Key features of these regulations include:

- requiring new oily water filtering equipment and bilge alarms to meet stricter approval standards;

- requiring any vessel fitted with a toilet to have a holding tank or an approved marine sanitation device for the treatment of sewage;

- adding cargo sweepings and residues from non-toxic bulk cargoes to the definition of "garbage" and specifying the requirements for record-keeping for garbage-related operations on commercial carriers;

- requiring ships to be inspected and certified for compliance with provisions for air emissions, limiting emissions of nitrogen oxide from new diesel engines, banning the release of ozone-depleting substances, banning the burning of specified substances in ships' incinerators, and specifying the quality of fuel that can be burned by ships; and

- banning the use of organotins in anti-fouling systems on ships, and requiring ships' anti-fouling systems to be inspected and certified.

The first notice of the regulations was published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on June 17, 2006. During a 90-day consultation period thereafter, Transport Canada and Environment Canada held stakeholder meetings across Canada. Comments received were taken into account in the finalization of the regulations.

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