Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra has announced mandatory environmental measures for cruise ships.
The measures concern discharges of greywater – the drainage from sinks, laundry machines, bathtubs and showers, or dishwaters – and sewage – wastewater from bathrooms and toilets.
The new mandatory measures for cruise ships, which are effective immediately, include prohibiting the discharge of greywater and treated sewage within three nautical miles from shore where geographically possible across Canada.
The new measures also include “strengthening the treatment of greywater together with sewage” before it is discharged between three and twelve nautical miles from shore south of 60°N, using an approved treatment device in non-Arctic waters. Transport Canada says that this will complement existing regulations for Arctic waters under the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act.
Cruise ships are required to comply with reporting these measures in Canadian waters upon request.
Transport Minister Alghabra said: “Cruise ships are an important part of our economy and tourism sector but they need to operate in a more sustainable manner to protect our waters and our environment.
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“The [new] measures are additional tools in our toolbox to keep them accountable. We are committed to continuing to work with industry to implement these measures, keeping our coasts clean for Canadians to enjoy.”
The new measures are being implemented by an Interim Order, which has the same effect as a regulation in Canada but allows for action to be taken immediately while the process for making the regulations mandatory for the longer term is being implemented.
The Canadian government announced these measures last year for the cruise ship industry on a voluntary basis, but cruise ships will now be subject to fines for non-compliance with these measures of up to the maximum permitted CA$250,000 ($189,800m) under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
These measures “will better protect Canada’s oceans and the marine environment”, according to Transport Canada. The Canadian government says it is working to conserve 25% of Canada’s oceans by 2025 and 30% by 2030.