The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) under the MARPOL Annex V explains that “Garbage from ships can be just as deadly to marine life as oil or chemicals.” Insufficient disposal of waste and garbage from yachts can cause significant damage to the ocean environment. Although in many areas, every effort is made to ensure correct disposal of waste from yachts, this is still a problem for many marinas, ports and areas that receive a high volume of vessels.

Looking to rectify this issue, Waste Boat Service (WBS) is a startup that takes care of collecting and disposing of waste generated on ships and vessels from Marina di Puntaldia to La Maddalena Archipelago in Italy, including Marinella, Portisco, Cugnana, Porto Rotondo, Capriccioli, Romazzino, Pevero and Porto Cervo harbours. Davide Melca, founding partner of WBS, spoke to SuperyachtNews concerning the project. “The idea came from talking to people working in the pleasure boats field, above all yacht service agencies. Garbage disposal has not always been managed with full respect for the law. This is due to the lack of a valid and concrete alternative on the market,” he explains.

Yachts in the region can organise the service in two ways, either pre-arranging through the WBS website, or flagging down the team on their daily tours of the area. “Our company has been authorised to directly collect the garbage. We do our job quickly and in an efficient way and we can ensure waste traceability and disposal as required by law. We can also provide ship captains with all necessary documentation for them to be compliant with MARPOL International Convention,” continues Melca. Additionally, thanks to the creation of an internal system of traceability, WBS has set up the first database to monitor the ship waste stream throughout summer.

The team collected over four tonnes of waste over a single weekend in August 2016, which highlights the dire need for such a service at peak times over the summer season. “One of the most problematic aspects is the inability of marinas to receive the large amount of waste generated by yachts during their stay. When it comes to discharge the garbage, yacht captains felt uncomfortable as the lack of adequate facilities in the ports forces them to go around the area looking for a pickup point,” Melca adds. By collecting the waste directly from the vessels themselves, even those moored further out from the marina, the team are simplifying the process and encouraging yachts to dispose of garbage appropriately, not dumping it over the side.

WBS report positive feedback from all yachts they have dealt with, and hope to expand their services to other areas of the Mediterranean including Greece, Monaco and Ibiza. The startup looks to tackle the problem of illegal dumping of waste - something that has long been the marine industry’s dirty little secret. In addition to helping the yachts deal with the messiness of waste disposal, WBS are also contributing to the ongoing efforts of the industry to decrease the negative impact yachts can have on the environment.

 Image one: Waste Boat Service collecting from M/Y Octopus.
Image two: The WBS Team