The Parliament of Åland and the Government of Åland have long worked in many ways for the adoption of bans on wastewater discharge from vessels and especially from passenger ships into the Baltic Sea. HELCOM has coordinated the work of the Baltic coastal states to achieve this ban.
The ban on sewage discharge from passenger ships into the Baltic Sea is now a step towards the achievement of this goal. It was realised through a decision made by the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) on 11–15 May 2015. However, an amendment needs to be made to the convention regulating discharges from vessels to enable the ban to be implemented. Such decision is expected to be made in April 2016.
The ban means that all passenger ships (including cruise liners) must either discharge all sewage at port reception facilities or be equipped with on-board sewage treatment equipment by which the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus can be reduced to the required level. The regulations will be applied to new vessels as of 2019 and to existing vessels as of 2021 in the Baltic Sea, except for Russian waters.
The Government of Åland will continue promoting the issue by actively expressing its views in various contexts, for example, by writing to the relevant authorities and cooperation organisations.