Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Passenger ship sewage and the Baltic Sea in HELCOM web

​​Cruise ships’ sewage continues to raise concern in the Baltic Sea, as untreated discharging to the sea has a polluting effect. Background and developments on the issue have been compiled at HELCOM . Photo: Franz Airiman/Flickr.During the past year, HELCOM countries have negotiated intensively about the enforcement of the already established special area status for sewage. The dates for not discharging passenger ship sewage to the Baltic Sea have been postponed – as of IMO meeting in April 2015 – to 1 January 2019 for new ships and 1 January 2021 for existing ones. HELCOM will continue the technical cooperation within the Port Reception Facilities (PRF) Cooperation Platform on sewage delivery between the administrations, industry stakeholders and the civil society. HELCOM published an overview in early 2015. The overview, covering active cruise voyage months of 2014, describes in detail the cruise ships operating in the Baltic Sea, their length of sea voyages as well as frequency and duration of port visits. Also the ports visited by cruise ships and the sewage facilities are covered in terms of facilities and traffic trends.  In July 2011, a milestone in Baltic protection was reached when IMO decided, upon request by HELCOM, to establish the Baltic Sea as a special area for sewage from passenger ships, by amending the Annex IV of the MARPOL Convention. The decision took effect on 1 January 2013. The effective application of this already existing legal status has been, according to the 2011 IMO decision, subject to the availability of adequate sewage Port Reception Facilities (PRF) in the region. * * *Note for editorsThe Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention. * * *For more information, please contactHermanni BackerProfessional Secretary for Maritime, Response and Maritime Spatial PlanningHELCOMTel:  +358 46 8509199Skype: helcom02E-mail: hermanni.backer(at) Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)

Cruise ships’ sewage continues to raise concern in the Baltic Sea, as untreated discharging to the sea has a polluting effect. Web pages compile past and present information.