India aims to reduce ships’ use of single-use plastic by 90% during stays in Indian ports in the next 12 months

On 16 October 2019, the Indian Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) issued Order No.05 of 2019 prohibiting the use of single-use plastic items onboard ships. The order prohibits the carriage of any such items onboard Indian flagged ships while foreign flagged ships are only prohibited from using any such item while operating in Indian waters. Our alert “India bans single-use plastic onboard ships” of 24 October 2019 has the details.

While the initial plan was to implement the order in full by 1 January 2020, DGS later decided to postpone its implementation, to allow the shipping industry time to put in place the logistical arrangements needed to comply with the new requirements. DGS published a notice to that effect on 21 November 2019.

On 8 January 2020, DGS issued Addendum 1 to Order 5 of 2019 describing its new implementation strategy for the single-use plastic ban. The addendum in its entirety is available here and the following changes and clarifications to the original order should be noted:

Definition of single-use plastics

The prohibition applies only to single-use plastic items used onboard ships and which are completely made of plastics. Examples of items not covered by the prohibition are:

  • tetra pak cartons with plastic caps as used for milk and juice;
  • items made of biodegradable plastic with a stamp;
  • cargo related items and packaging;
  • essential equipment such as personal protective equipment, medical equipment, lifesaving appliances and fire-fighting equipment; and
  • for the time being, crew and passenger personnel effects.

Please refer to the original order for a generic list of single-use plastic items covered by the prohibition.

New phase-out schedule

All ships are eventually required to reduce their single-use plastic use by 90% during stays in Indian ports. This will be achieved by a stepwise implementation of the prohibition and will be based on ship type and each ship’s actual inventory of single-use plastic items. To summarise:

  • All ships when at Indian ports or places must be able to present an inventory list identifying all single-use plastic items onboard. The deadline for establishing the inventory list is 31 January 2020 for cargo ships and 31 March 2020 for passenger ships.
  • For cargo ships, 50% of the items in the inventory list will be prohibited from 1 April 2020, 75% from 1 July 2020 and 90% from 1 October 2020.
  • Passenger ships are given two extra months to comply with each step of the phase-out schedule.
  • Ship operators are free to decide which items in the inventory list to place in each ‘phase-out category’ and can therefore prioritise based on each ship’s operational requirements and crews’ needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Demonstrating compliance

The original order prohibits the carriage of single-use plastic items onboard Indian flagged ships while foreign flagged ships are only prohibited from using any such item while operating in Indian waters. Hence, in order for foreign flagged ships to demonstrate compliance, ships’ inventory lists should be developed into execution plans by sorting and categorizing all items in accordance with the applicable phase-out schedule. Execution plans must also describe ships’ procedures to ensure that the items prohibited from use at any given time will not be used during stays in Indian ports.

For foreign ships that have not prepared the required inventory list, Indian authorities will use the generic list of single-use plastic items as included in the original order and apply the same phase-out schedule.

Waste reception facilities

India will still permit single-use plastic items to be discharged to its port reception facilities but emphasizes that such items should be segregated from other wastes and marked accordingly. Remember – under MARPOL Annex V, all plastic waste generated during the normal operation of the ship is strictly banned from discharge in any waters!