MARPOL Electronic Record Books
A key element of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) regulations is the recording of discharges associated with the prevention of pollution from ships. A number of MARPOL Annexes require the recording of particular discharges.
The format for the recording of discharges under MARPOL is provided in the appendixes to the relevant MARPOL Annexes. Traditionally, the format of these record books has been provided in hard copy by the Administration. However, as companies and shipowners increasingly focus on ways to operate in an environmentally responsible manner and aim to reduce the heavy burden associated with paperwork through electronic means, the concept of operational logs in an electronic format has become a popular consideration.
It is expected that as companies and shipowners increasingly explore electronic record keeping, flag State Administrations will be requested to approve electronic recording systems (henceforth referred to as an electronic record book).
The Panama Maritime Administration established in their Merchant Marine Circular MMC-193, the regulatory scheme for the approval on the voluntary use of Electronic Record Books onboard of Panamanian vessels, in compliance with the technical specification detailed in the IMO Resolution MEPC.312(74).
- As reference, the required services within the optional and voluntary Electronic Record Books are limited to supply any vessel, the electronic means for the reception, record and control of the information pertaining to:
- Oil Record Book and Emissions
- Crew Roll Book
- Bridge Logbook
- Ballast Water Record Book
- Any other record book the Administration determine to be necessary for the operation of ship in accordance with the international Conventions and Codes
- The Electronic Record Books will be supplied at the request of any ship-owner or operator, by any manufacturer company approved by the Administration.
- System specifications are described in the MEPC.312(74).
- Flag and books requirements are described in the MMC-193.
- In order for the vessels in the national merchant marine to use any format of the Electronic Record Book System on board, it is necessary for it to obtain the required license.
- The authorized manufacturing company shall issue a document called Manufacturer’s declaration once the electronic book format is installed onboard and comply with the MARPOL regulations.
- Statement of the owner or agent responsible for the operation of the ship shall be issued to specify that crew have been trained, processes for the data storage and conservation and system maintenance.
- The declaration can be issued by Recognized Organizations already delegated by this Administration to issue certificates relevant to MARPOL Annex I, II, VI & NOx Code.
- An electronic record book should have the ability to meet the company verification/audit requirements (such as integration with the ships Safety Management System (International Safety Management Code)).
- An electronic record book should meet all control provisions as set out in the relevant Annexes of MARPOL.
- Such a system should also meet any general requirements set out in the Procedures for port State control, 2017 (resolution A.1119(30)), as amended, as well as support the detection of violations and enforcement of the Convention as outlined in Article 6 of MARPOL.