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The recently published HELCOM report Baltic Sea Sewage Port Reception Facilities – HELCOM overview 2018 provides information on the status of sewage port reception facilities (PRF) and their use in the Baltic Sea area, with a focus on international cruise traffic. A total of 38 ports were assessed in the 2018 version. 

"This publication gives a comprehensive overview of the sewage port reception facilities in the Baltic Sea, and we plan to update it regularly in order to always reflect the current situation," said Markus Helavuori, the HELCOM Professional Secretary in charge of maritime affairs.

According to the report, most ports channel the wastewater from the ships to the municipal sewer system or treatment plants, either directly through fixed reception points or using tankers or barges. Upgrades are currently underway in some ports.

The overview has been submitted for information to the 73rd session of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 73) that will be held from 22 to 26 October 2018.

The Baltic was the first sea in the world to receive status as a special area for sewage under the IMO MARPOL Convention, Annex IV.

Under the convention that is set to come into effect in June 2021, passenger ships – including cruise ships – will be limited to discharging sewage into port reception facilities or alternatively at sea after treatment in advanced on-board sewage treatment plants. 

The report has been compiled by HELCOM based on information from port authorities, national administrations, and the cruise and port industries. HELCOM AIS data for the period 2006 to 2017 was also used.