Environmental Policy for Ships

The following policies must be followed for ships in Bermuda’s territorial waters.

A ship is considered to be a seagoing steamer, motor or sailing ship but does not include small craft usually plying the waters of Bermuda. Bermuda’s territorial waters are defined as the sea within twelve nautical miles of the baselines.  The baseline is measured as generally the low water line, except that, between points at 32° 15.2’N 64 °52.3’W and 32° 22.7’N 64° 39.7’W on the coast inshore of Hogfish Cut and Town Cut respectively, the baseline follows the seaward limit of the main reef as shown on Admiralty chart 334 to the west and north of the main group of the islands of Bermuda.  Where there is a break or passage in that reef, the baseline is a straight line joining the seaward entry points of that break or passage (Bermuda (Territorial Sea) Order in Council 1988).

  1. A ship staying (i.e. anchoring, mooring, berthing, landing or docking) in Bermuda’s territorial waters for a total of 7 or more days within one year (i.e. a period spanning at least 365 days) shall make application for operating licences for controlled plant under the Clean Air Act 1991 (controlled plant include electrical and steam generators, sewage treatment plants, incinerators, oily water separators, plant for the processing of gravel, sand and/or soil) prior to the ship’s arrival in Bermuda. If staying for less than 1 day in Bermuda’s territorial waters, the number of hours spent there is irrelevant; any fraction of a partial day counts as 1 full day. Exceptions will be considered for those ships calling into Bermuda’s ports in emergency situations.  Operating licences are not required for engines used solely for propulsion.
  2. Use of any incinerator in Bermuda’s territorial waters is prohibited unless the owner is in possession of a valid operating licence issued by the Environmental Authority.' 
  3. The maximum allowed sulphur content in fuel for combustion purposes on a ship is 0.5%.   Ships that are equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) that wish to operate using fuels of higher levels of sulphur shall seek prior approval from the Environmental Authority before using the EGCS in Bermuda’s territorial waters.  Washwater and residue from the EGCS shall be not disposed of in Bermuda or discharged into Bermuda’s waters but shall be stored on board the ship until outside of Bermuda’s waters (i.e. EGCS operated in 'Closed' Configuration).
  4. Opacity of exhaust emissions from controlled plant shall not exceed 5% except during periods of engine start-up, cool down or when manoeuvring though channels, including with a pilot, that requires additional engines to operate at low load as a contingency measure.  Smoke emitted from a ship shall not be offensive, that is, it shall not be in such quantity or contain such content of soot, smut, cinders or oil as to be offensive to people or as to cause or be likely to cause damage or injury to buildings, furnishings, goods, or other articles (Section 18, Marine Board Act 1962).  Ships that are not fitted with opacity sensors shall periodically undertake visual emission testing to United States Environmental Authority (US EPA) method #9 while in port under hotel load.  The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will determine the frequency based upon the data received from the first test.
  5. The stack or exhaust outlet of controlled plant shall be situated so that the exhaust fumes do not foul the ventilation of buildings, including windows and air intake points or vents, or adversely impact nearby residents.
  6. Controlled plant shall be installed and maintained to produce the minimum amount of noise and vibration.
  7. Controlled plant shall have a regular maintenance and testing schedule, and the maintenance and scheduling shall be logged and available for inspection.
  8. Any aggregate piles or movement of aggregate shall be managed to minimise fugitive emissions and minimise sediment loading of storm-water runoff.
  9. A ship shall not discharge any bilge water within Bermuda’s territorial waters except as provided under the provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL 73/78) unless prior approval has been granted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
  10. If any discharge of fuels, oils, sewage or other contaminants overboard occur then you shall report it immediately (within 1 hour) to Bermuda Radio as per the guidance provided at:
  11. A ship shall not discharge any ballast water within Bermuda’s territorial waters except to preserve the safety of the ship, environment and life.
  12. A ship shall not discharge liquid effluent, including raw sewage, grey water, swimming pool water, hot tub water, pulper wastes, photoprocessing fluids, within Bermuda’s territorial waters.  Liquid effluent may be discharged into appropriate shore reception facilities.  Treated effluent shall not be discharged into Bermuda’s territorial waters without the prior approval of DENR.
  13. The underwater hull of a ship shall not be cleaned in Bermuda’s territorial waters.  Rinsing and cleaning of the hull above the water line may be undertaken using only fresh water or salt water.  No cleaning agents may be used.
  14. The underwater hull of a ship shall not be painted in Bermuda’s territorial waters.  There shall be no chipping or scraping of painted or varnished surfaces on the exterior of any ship in Bermuda’s territorial waters unless it is on a commercial boat slip or unless the prior approval of the DENR has been obtained.  Spot painting of the ship sides above the waterline is permitted providing paint is prevented from dripping into Bermuda’s waters.
  15. Propellers shall not be polished in Bermuda’s territorial waters
  16. All ships shall complete a Waste Notification Form at least 24-hours prior to arrival in Bermuda.  Approval of the Department of Public Works, Waste Management Section, shall be obtained prior to the discharge of waste.  Wastes from a ship shall be separated into burnable material, recyclable material, hazardous, biomedical, bulky, and municipal wastes.  Recyclable materials are aluminium, steel and glass food and beverage containers.  Due to the risk of introducing pests and diseases in food wastes all food waste shall be disposed of at Tynes Bay Waste to Energy Facility.  The ship shall be responsible for the haulage of wastes to the appropriate receiving facility. 
  17. No discharge of animal wastes, including bedding, manure, and carcasses, shall be undertaken without the prior approval of DENR.
  18. Hazardous and special wastes, including incinerator ash, oils, greases, batteries, fluorescent lamps, paints, mercury-containing items, flares, can be disposed of in Bermuda but please note that disposal of these wastes will be charged for costs incurred to repackage and ship back to the US.
  19. Bulky wastes, including, anchors, ropes, indoor and outdoor furniture, mattresses, engine parts, masts, shall not be disposed of in Bermuda or its territorial waters. 

For policies concerning fruits, vegetables, animals and plants on board ships in Bermuda or its territorial waters, please contact or

For further information, please call the Department of Environment and Natural Resources at (441) 236-4201 and