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Maritime Pollution Prevention and Controls

Places of Refuge (PoR):

Useful files:

Emergency Response to Maritime Related Incidents

As part of the Pollution and Incidence Response Unit (PIRU) duties, Officers are required as requested or following feedback by Inspectors (P&YD Inspectorate Unit) to go on-site in case of smaller-scale maritime-related incidents. The actions associated with the latter include (1) initial assessment of the incident, (2) ascertaining correct response take place by the appropriate individuals or entities and overseeing or coordinating all necessary action, (3) liaising with third parties such as Terminal and Facility Operators, Civil Protection and Malta Environment and Planning Authority as necessary (4) determining that sufficient action has been taken to declare the incident closed and (5) compiling a report or recording the incident.

The PIRU is also involved in the CleanSeaNet initiative and the CleanSeaNet user group set up by the European Maritime Safety Agency where satellite technology is utilised to localise oil pollution at sea. Presently Transport Malta is the National Competent Authority for this measure. 

Malta’s preparedness to response to a maritime incident

With respect to preparedness and response to large scale incidentis. An incident that a single terminal or entity may not be able to handle, the PIRU is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the National Marine Pollution Contingency Plan (NMPCP)and the maintenance and operation of offshore Oil Response Equipment newly acquired through the EEA Financial Mechanism. For more information on EEA Grants see this website. An annual full-scale oil pollution response exercise in collaboration with the European Maritime Safety Agency is carried out as part of ongoing oil and HNS spill response training.

Provision of Port Reception Facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues


Waste oil disposal services are available through authorised road tankers, barges and direct pumping from the facilities’ berths in the Port of Valletta. Road tanker and barge services are available in the Port of Marsaxlokk.

For more information regarding waste oil reception facilities in Malta, please visit the websites of the two authorised facilities:
Waste Oil Company Ltd -
Ricasoli Port Facility Limited –


Sewage disposal services are available by authorised waste carriers (road tankers) in both Ports.


Garbage disposal services are available in both our Ports by authorised waste carriers (trucks).

Waste Disposal in Malta is generally organised by the vessel’s agent with respect to the Terminal’s Waste Management Plan. These service providers usually charge per m3 collected. For more information regarding the charges you can contact our local ship agents.

Vessel Exemptions

Under the Port Reception Facilities for the Delivery of Waste from Ships Regulations (S.L. 499.71), the Authority may exempt ships from notifications, delivering waste and paying the waste management fee.

To be exempted, ships must be engaged in “scheduled traffic with frequent and regular port calls” and give evidence “of an arrangement to ensure the delivery of ship-generated waste and payment of fees in a port along the ship’s route” (Reg. 10 of S.L. 499.71).    Definitions for ‘scheduled’, ‘frequent’ and ‘regular’ can be found in Port Notice 01/2023.

The Agent of a Vessel can apply for an exemption certificate by submitting an application form along with the above evidence at least fifteen working days before the commencement of the scheduled service.

S.L. 499.71 transposes the requirements of Directive (EU) 2019/883 on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships (For more information on Directive (EU) 2019/883, please see here).  The implementation of the Directive is further supported through a a number of Port Notices.

The Directive requires that adequate port reception for ship-generated waste, i.e. waste that is generated through the normal operations of the ship, be provided to all vessels both calling internationally or based locally in order to deliver the latter without causing undue delay to the vessel. Providing port reception faculties for ship-generated wastes and cargo residues helps in preventing the dumping of waste from ships in particular oils and plastics (both strictly illegal). The main actions and deliverables associated with the implementation of this Directive include:

Ascertaining that all terminals as defined in S.L. 499.71 implement a valid Waste Reception and Handling Plan officially approved by TM as prescribed by the First Schedule to S.L. 499.71.
Providing information to terminals that are required to have a valid Waste Reception and Handling Plan in place.
Planning and executing inspections; at least one (1) annual inspection per terminal takes place.
Revision of necessary strategic documents such as the Departmental Operating Procedure and accompany forms
Issuing and keeping track of exemptions.
Reporting or providing information as required to third parties in particular regulatory bodies.
Attendance to relevant meetings.

The Directive is also aligned with the measures found in the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) to which Malta is a signatory. In particular Annex I (Oil), Annex IV (Sewage) and Annex V (Garbage). Thus, the implementation of the Directive as transposed into national legisaltion supports in part the implementation of MARPOL.

For further queries on the implementation of the Directive (EU) 2019/883 and S.L. 499.71, kindly contact the Marine Operations and Incident Response Unit (+356 2122 2203 – TM Reception).

Other Matters

Apart from the main duties carried out as listed above, additional work is carried out by the PIRU that includes handling participation in projects, aspects of environmental issues with respect to ports and shipping, delivery of internal training including refresher training and occasional delivery of lectures to external entities upon request. Ongoing projects and examples of such work include:

  • Calypso Project (ongoing)
  • Representation on several committees and working groups
  • Attendance to relevant meetings and workshops related to pollution prevention and control and environmental issues.
  • Liaison with national entities including other Authorities and Departments
  • Liaison with regional and international entities such as the European Maritime Safety Agency and the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea
  • Shipping, Ports and Environmental Issues ( e.g. reviewing environmental legislation and policies that affect directly or indirectly port and shipping activity at a national level).

List of relevant authorities or entities: