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News: Sewage treatment fines in Ghana

23 April 2020

Under the MARPOL regulations, ships are prohibited from discharging sewage into the sea unless it has been disinfected using an approved system at a distance of more than three nautical miles from the nearest land.

The club is aware of a potential new claims trend in Ghana - authorities have issued fines based on unjustified allegations that ships calling at Ghana’s ports have discharged untreated sewage. In these cases, the local authorities have not accepted security, and have required payment in full to prevent the ships from being detained. Local correspondents advise that it is difficult to dispute these fines once imposed and that the chances of successfully appealing them are slim.

Members should ensure that sewage treatment systems are functioning properly before arrival at ports in Ghana. If members become aware of a potential fine, they should initiate discussions with the local authorities as soon as possible to assist with mitgation of any claim before a formal fine is imposed.