International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL)
year by year
History of MARPOL 73/78
Annex I: Prevention of pollution by oil
Annex II: Control of pollution by noxious liquid substances
Annex III: Prevention of pollution by harmful substances in packaged
Annex IV: Prevention of pollution by sewage from ships
Annex V: Prevention of pollution by garbage from ships
Annex VI: Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships
The 1984 amendments
The 1985 (Annex II) amendments
The 1985 (Protocol I) amendments – incident reporting
The 1987 amendments - special area extension
The 1989 (March) amendments – Annex II
The October 1989 amendments – North Sea special area
The 1990 (HSSC) amendments
The 1990 (IBC Code) amendments
The 1990 (BCH) amendments
The 1990 (Annexes I and V) amendments – Antarctic as special area
The 1991 amendments – Wider Caribbean as special area
The 1992 amendments – Double hulls made mandatory
The 1994 amendments - Implementation
The 1995 amendments – Garbage records
The 1996 amendments
The 1997 amendments – North West European waters as special area
The Protocol of 1997 adoption of Annex VI - Regulations for the
Prevention of Air
Pollution from Ships
The 1999 amendments – Persistent oil
The 2000 amendments – Deletion of tainting
The 2001 amendments - revised 13 G (double hulls)
The 2003 amendments - Double hulls
2004 (April) amendments - revised Annex IV (sewage)
The 2004 (October) amendments - revised Annexes
I and II
The 2005 amendments - North Sea SECA, Annex VI amendments
The 2006 amendments - oil fuel tank protection
The 2006 (October) amendments - South Africa special area,
revised Annex III
2007 amendments - Annex I reception facilities, Annec IV animal effluent
Convention is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution
of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. It
is a combination of two treaties adopted in 1973 and 1978 respectively and updated
by amendments through the years.
Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) was adopted on
2 November 1973 at IMO and covered pollution by oil, chemicals, harmful substances
in packaged form, sewage and garbage. The Protocol of 1978 relating to the 1973
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (1978 MARPOL
Protocol) was adopted at a Conference on Tanker Safety and Pollution Prevention
in February 1978 held in response to a spate of tanker accidents in 1976-1977.
(Measures relating to tanker design and operation were also incorporated into
a Protocol of 1978 relating to the 1974 Convention on the Safety of Life at
As the 1973
MARPOL Convention had not yet entered into force, the 1978 MARPOL Protocol absorbed
the parent Convention. The combined instrument is referred to as the International
Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified
by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78), and it entered into
force on 2 October 1983 (Annexes I and II).
includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships
- both accidental pollution and that from routine operations - and currently
includes six technical Annexes:
||Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil
||Regulations for the Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances
|| Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea in Packaged
||Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships
||Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships
||Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships (entry into force 19
States Parties must accept Annexes I and II, but the other Annexes are
History of MARPOL 73/78OILPOL
Oil pollution of the seas
was recognized as a problem in the first half of the 20th century and
various countries introduced national regulations to control discharges of oil
within their territorial waters. In 1954, the United Kingdom organized a
conference on oil pollution which resulted in the adoption of the
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil
(OILPOL), 1954. Following entry into force of the IMO Convention in 1958,
the depository and Secretariat functions in relation to the Convention were
transferred from the United Kingdom Government to IMO.
The 1954 Convention, which
was amended in 1962, 1969 and 1971, primarily addressed pollution resulting from
routine tanker operations and from the discharge of oily wastes from machinery
spaces - regarded as the major causes of oil pollution from ships.
The 1954 OILPOL Convention, which entered into force on 26 July 1958, attempted
to tackle the problem of pollution of the seas by oil - defined as crude oil,
fuel oil, heavy diesel oil and lubricating oil in two main ways:
established "prohibited zones" extending at least 50 miles from the nearest
land in which the discharge of oil or of mixtures containing more than 100
parts of oil per million was forbidden; and
required Contracting Parties to take all appropriate steps to promote the
provision of facilities for the reception of oily water and residues.
1962, IMO adopted amendments to the Convention which extended its application
to ships of a lower tonnage and also extended the "prohibited zones". Amendments
adopted in 1969 contained regulations to further restrict operational discharge
of oil from oil tankers and from machinery spaces of all ships.
Although the 1954 OILPOL Convention went some way in dealing with oil pollution,
growth in oil trade and developments in industrial practices were beginning
to make it clear that further action, was required. Nonetheless, pollution control
was at the time still a minor concern for IMO, and indeed the world was only
beginning to wake up to the environmental consequences of an increasingly industrialised
In 1967, the tanker Torrey
Canyon ran aground while entering the English Channel and spilled her entire
cargo of 120,000 tons of crude oil into the sea. This resulted in the
biggest oil pollution incident ever recorded up to that time. The incident
raised questions about measures then in place to prevent oil pollution from
ships and also exposed deficiencies in the existing system for providing compensation
following accidents at sea.
First, IMO called an Extraordinary session of its Council, which drew up
a plan of action on technical and legal aspects of the Torrey Canyon
incident. Then, the IMO Assembly decided in 1969 to convene an international
conference in 1973 to prepare a suitable international agreement for placing
restraints on the contamination of the sea, land and air by ships.
In the meantime,
in 1971, IMO adopted further amendments to OILPOL 1954 to afford additional
protection to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and also to limit the size
of tanks on oil tankers, thereby minimizing the amount of oil which could escape
in the event of a collision or stranding.
Finally, an international
Conference in 1973 adopted the International Convention for the Prevention
of Pollution from Ships. While it was recognized that accidental pollution
was spectacular, the Conference considered that operational pollution was still
the bigger threat. As a result, the 1973 Convention incorporated much of OILPOL
1954 and its amendments into Annex I, covering oil.
But the Convention
was also intended to address other forms of pollution from ships and therefore
other annexes covered chemicals, harmful substances carried in packaged form,
sewage and garbage. The 1973 Convention also included two Protocols dealing
with Reports on Incidents involving Harmful Substances and Arbitration.
The 1973 Convention
required ratification by 15 States, with a combined merchant fleet of not less
than 50 percent of world shipping by gross tonnage, to enter into force. By
1976, it had only received three ratifications - Jordan, Kenya and Tunisia -
representing less than one percent of the world's merchant shipping fleet. This
was despite the fact that States could become Party to the Convention by only
ratifying Annexes I (oil) and II (chemicals). Annexes III to V, covering harmful
goods in packaged form, sewage and garbage, were optional.
It began to
look as though the 1973 Convention might never enter into force, despite its
In 1978, in response to a spate of tanker accidents in 1976-1977, IMO held
a Conference on Tanker Safety and Pollution Prevention in February 1978. The
conference adopted measures affecting tanker design and operation, which were
incorporated into both the Protocol of 1978 relating to the 1974 Convention
on the Safety of Life at Sea (1978 SOLAS Protocol) and the Protocol of 1978
relating to the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution
from Ships (1978 MARPOL Protocol) - adopted on 17 February 1978.
More importantly in terms of achieving the entry into force of MARPOL, the 1978
MARPOL Protocol allowed States to become Party to the Convention by first implementing
Annex I (oil), as it was decided that Annex II (chemicals) would not become
binding until three years after the Protocol entered into force.
This gave States time to overcome technical problems in Annex II, which for
some had been a major obstacle in ratifying the Convention.
As the 1973
Convention had not yet entered into force, the 1978 MARPOL Protocol absorbed
the parent Convention. The combined instrument - the International Convention
for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol
of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78) - finally entered into force on
2 October 1983 (for Annexes I and II).
Annex V, covering garbage, achieved sufficient ratifications to enter into
force on 31 December 1988, while Annex III, covering harmful substances carried
in packaged form, entered into force on 1 July 1992. Annex IV, covering sewage,
enters into force on 27
September 2003. Annex VI, covering air pollution, was adopted in September
1997 and enters into force on 19 May 2005.
I: Prevention of pollution by oil
Entry into force: 2 October 1983
Annex I enters into force 1 January 2007)
1973 Convention maintained the oil discharge criteria prescribed in the 1969
amendments to the 1954 Oil Pollution Convention, without substantial changes,
namely, that operational discharges of oil from tankers are allowed only when
all of the following conditions are met:
|| the total quantity of oil which a tanker may discharge in any ballast
voyage whilst under way must not exceed 1/15,000 of the total cargo carrying
capacity of the vessel;
|| the rate at which oil may be discharged must not exceed 60 litres per
mile travelled by the ship; and
|| no discharge of any oil whatsoever must be made from the cargo spaces
of a tanker within 50 miles of the nearest land.
oil record book is required, in which is recorded the movement of cargo oil
and its residues from loading to discharging on a tank-to-tank basis.
In addition, in the 1973 Convention, the maximum quantity of oil permitted to
be discharged on a ballast voyage of new oil tankers was reduced from 1/15,000
of the cargo capacity to 1/30,000 of the amount of cargo carried. These
criteria applied equally both to persistent (black) and non‑persistent
As with the 1969 OILPOL amendments, the 1973 Convention recognized the "load
on top" (LOT) system which had been developed by the oil industry in the 1960s.
On a ballast voyage the tanker takes on ballast water (departure ballast) in
dirty cargo tanks. Other tanks are washed to take on clean ballast. The tank
washings are pumped into a special slop tank. After a few days, the departure
ballast settles and oil flows to the top. Clean water beneath is then decanted
while new arrival ballast water is taken on. The upper layer of the departure
ballast is transferred to the slop tanks. After further settling and decanting,
the next cargo is loaded on top of the remaining oil in the slop tank, hence
the term load on top.
A new and important feature of the 1973 Convention was the concept of "special
areas" which are considered to be so vulnerable to pollution by oil that
oil discharges within them have been completely prohibited, with minor and well‑defined
exceptions. The 1973 Convention identified the Mediterranean Sea, the
Black Sea, and the Baltic Sea, the Red Sea and the Gulfs area as special areas.
All oil‑carrying ships are required to be capable of operating the method
of retaining oily wastes on board through the "load on top" system or for discharge
to shore reception facilities.
This involves the fitting of appropriate equipment, including an oil‑discharge
monitoring and control system, oily‑water separating equipment and a filtering
system, slop tanks, sludge tanks, piping and pumping arrangements.
New oil tankers (i.e. those for which the building contract was placed after
31 December 1975) of 70,000 tons deadweight and above, must be fitted with segregated
ballast tanks large enough to provide adequate operating draught without the
need to carry ballast water in cargo oil tanks.
Secondly, new oil tankers are required to meet certain subdivision and damage
stability requirements so that, in any loading conditions, they can survive
after damage by collision or stranding.
The Protocol of 1978 made a number of changes to Annex I of the parent
convention. Segregated ballast tanks (SBT) are required on all new tankers
of 20,000 dwt and above (in the parent convention SBTs were only required on
new tankers of 70,000 dwt and above). The Protocol also required SBTs
to be protectively located ‑ that is, they must be positioned in such
a way that they will help protect the cargo tanks in the event of a collision
Another important innovation concerned crude oil washing (COW), which had been
developed by the oil industry in the 1970s and offered major benefits.
Under COW, tanks are washed not with water but with crude oil ‑ the cargo
itself. COW was accepted as an alternative to SBTs on existing tankers
and is an additional requirement on new tankers.
For existing crude oil tankers (built before entry into force of the Protocol)
a third alternative was permissible for a period of two to four years after
entry into force of MARPOL 73/78. The dedicated clean ballast tanks (CBT) system
meant that certain tanks are dedicated solely to the carriage of ballast water.
This was cheaper than a full SBT system since it utilized existing pumping and
piping, but when the period of grace has expired other systems must be used.
Drainage and discharge arrangements were also altered in the Protocol, regulations
for improved stripping systems were introduced.
Some oil tankers operate solely in specific trades between ports which are provided
with adequate reception facilities. Some others do not use water as ballast.
The TSPP Conference recognized that such ships should not be subject to
all MARPOL requirements and they were consequently exempted from the SBT, COW
and CBT requirements. It is generally recognized that the effectiveness of international
conventions depends upon the degree to which they are obeyed and this in turn
depends largely upon the extent to which they are enforced. The 1978 Protocol
to MARPOL therefore introduced stricter regulations for the survey and certification
amendments to Annex I made it mandatory for new oil tankers to have double hulls
– and it brought in a phase-in schedule for existing tankers to fit double hulls,
which was subsequently revised in 2001 and 2003.
also Oil Pollution
II: Control of pollution by noxious liquid substances
Entry into force: 6 April 1987
Annex II enters into force 1 January 2007)
Annex II details the discharge criteria and measures for the control of
pollution by noxious liquid substances carried in bulk.
Some 250 substances were evaluated and included in the list appended to
the Convention. The discharge of their residues is allowed only to reception
facilities until certain concentrations and conditions (which vary with the
category of substances) are complied with.
In any case,
no discharge of residues containing noxious substances is permitted within 12
miles of the nearest land. More stringent restrictions applied to the
Baltic and Black Sea areas.
also Chemical Pollution
Annex III: Prevention of pollution by harmful substances in packaged
Entry into force: 1 July 1992
The first of the convention's optional annexes. States ratifying the Convention
must accept Annexes I and II but can choose not to accept the other three -
hence they have taken much longer to enter into force.
Annex III contains general requirements for the issuing of detailed standards
on packing, marking, labelling, documentation, stowage, quantity limitations,
exceptions and notifications for preventing pollution by harmful substances.
The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code has, since 1991, included
also Harmful Substances in Packaged Form
Annex IV: Prevention
of pollution by sewage from ships
Entry into force: 27
of the optional Annexes, Annex IV contains requirements to control pollution
of the sea by sewage. A revised Annex was adopted in 2004.
In accordance with regulation 2.1.3 of Annex IV, the requirements of the
Annex will apply to existing ships five years after the entry into force of
the Annex, which therefore is 27 September 2008.
are defined (regulation 1.2 of Annex IV) as the ships which are not new ships,
and new ships are defined (regulation 1.1.1) as ships contracted or in absence
of contract whose keel is laid before the entry into force of the Annex; or
which (regulation 1.1.2) are delivered three years or more after the entry into
force of the Annex (27 September 2006).
Annex V: Prevention of pollution by garbage from
Entry into force: 31 December 1988
This deals with different types of garbage and specifies the distances
from land and the manner in which they may be disposed of. The requirements
are much stricter in a number of "special areas" but perhaps the most important
feature of the Annex is the complete ban imposed on the dumping into the sea
of all forms of plastic.
Annex VI: Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships
Adoption: September 1997
Entry into force: 19 May 2005
The regulations in this annex set limits on sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide
emissions from ship exhausts and prohibit deliberate emissions of ozone depleting
See 1997 amendments
also Air Pollution
Any violation of the MARPOL 73/78 Convention within the jurisdiction of
any Party to the Convention is punishable either under the law of that Party
or under the law of the flag State. In this respect, the term "jurisdiction"
in the Convention should be construed in the light of international law in force
at the time the Convention is applied or interpreted.
With the exception of very small vessels, ships engaged on international
voyages must carry on board valid international certificates which may be accepted
at foreign ports as prima facie evidence that the ship complies with the requirements
of the Convention.
there are clear grounds for believing that the condition of the ship or its
equipment does not correspond substantially with the particulars of the certificate,
or if the ship does not carry a valid certificate, the authority carrying out
the inspection may detain the ship until it is satisfied that the ship can proceed
to sea without presenting unreasonable threat of harm to the marine environment.
Under Article 17, the Parties to the Convention accept the obligation to
promote, in consultation with other international bodies and with the assistance
of UNEP, support for those Parties which request technical assistance for various
purposes, such as training, the supply of equipment, research, and combating
Amendments to the technical Annexes of MARPOL 73/78 can be adopted using
the "tacit acceptance" procedure, whereby the amendments enter into force on
a specified date unless an agreed number of States Parties object by an agreed
amendments are usually adopted either by IMO's Marine Environment Protection
Committee (MEPC) or by a Conference of Parties to MARPOL.
Adoption: 7 September
Entry into force: 7 January 1986
to Annex I were designed to make implementation easier and more effective.
New requirements were designed to prevent oily water being discharged in special
areas, and other requirements were strengthened. But in some cases they
were eased, provided that various conditions were met: some discharges were
now permitted below the waterline, for example, which helps to cut costs by
reducing the need for extra piping.
The 1985 (Annex II) amendments
Adoption: 5 December
Entry into force: 6 April 1987
to Annex II, which deals with liquid noxious substances (such as chemicals),
were intended to take into account technological developments since the Annex
was drafted in 1973 and to simplify its implementation. In particular,
the aim was to reduce the need for reception facilities for chemical wastes
and to improve cargo tank stripping efficiencies.
also made the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships
Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code) mandatory for ships built on
or after 1 July 1986. This is important because the Annex itself
is concerned only with discharge procedures: the Code contains carriage requirements.
The Code itself was revised to take into account anti‑pollution requirements
and therefore make the amended Annex more effective in reducing accidental pollution
1985 (Protocol I) amendments
Adoption: 5 December
Entry into force: 6 April 1987
made it an explicit requirement to report incidents involving discharge into
the sea of harmful substances in packaged form.
The 1987 Amendments
Entry into force: 1 April 1989
extended Annex I Special Area status to the Gulf of Aden
The 1989 (March) amendments
Adoption: March 1989
Entry into force: 13 October 1990
affected the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships
Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code), mandatory under both MARPOL
73/78 and SOLAS and applies to ships built on or after 1 July 1986 and
the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals
in Bulk (BCH). In both cases, the amendments included a revised list of
chemicals. The BCH Code is mandatory under MARPOL 73/78 but voluntary
under SOLAS 1974.
Further amendments affected Annex II of MARPOL - updating and replacing
the lists of chemicals in appendices II and III.
October 1989 amendments
Adoption: 17 October
Entry into force: 18 February 1991
make the North Sea a "special area" under Annex V of the convention. This
greatly increases the protection of the sea against the dumping of garbage from
The 1990 (HSSC) amendments
Adoption: March 1990
Entry into force: 3 February 2000 (coinciding with the entry into
force of the 1988 SOLAS and Load Lines Protocols).
are designed to introduce the harmonized system of survey and certificates (HSSC)
into MARPOL 73/78 at the same time as it enters into force for the SOLAS and
Load Lines Conventions.
All three instruments
require the issuing of certificates to show that requirements have been met
and this has to be done by means of a survey which can involve the ship being
out of service for several days.
system alleviates the problems caused by survey dates and intervals between
surveys which do not coincide, so that a ship should no longer have to go into
port or repair yard for a survey required by one convention shortly after doing
the same thing in connection with another instrument.
1990 (IBC Code) amendments
Adoption: March 1990
Entry into force: On the same date as the March 1990 HSSC amendments
i.e. 3 February 2000.
introduced the HSSC into the IBC Code
The 1990 (BCH) amendments
Adoption: March 1990
Entry into force: On the same date as the March 1990 HSSC amendments
i.e. 3 February 2000.
introduced the HSSC into the BCH Code.
The 1990 (Annexes I and V) amendments
Adoption: November 1990
Entry into force: 17 March 1992
extended Special Area Status under Annexes I and V to the Antarctic.
Adoption: 4 July 1991
Entry into force: 4 April 1993
made the Wider Caribbean a Special Area under Annex V.
Other amendments added a new chapter IV to Annex I, requiring ships to
carry an oil pollution emergency plan.
The 1992 amendments
Adoption: 6 March 1992
Entry into force: 6 July 1993
The amendments to Annex I
of the convention which deals with pollution by oil brought in the "double hull"
requirements for tankers, applicable to new ships (tankers ordered after 6 July
1993, whose keels were laid on or after 6 January 1994 or which are delivered
on or after 6 July 1996) as well as existing ships built before that date, with
a phase-in period.
New-build tankers are covered by Regulation 13F, while regulation 13G applies
to existing crude oil tankers of 20,000 dwt and product carriers of 30,000 dwt
and above. Regulation 13G came into effect on 6 July 1995.
Regulation 13F requires all new tankers of 5,000 dwt and above to
be fitted with double hulls separated by a space of up to 2 metres (on tankers
below 5,000 dwt the space must be at least 0.76m).
As an alternative,
tankers may incorporate the "mid‑deck" concept under which the pressure
within the cargo tank does not exceed the external hydrostatic water pressure.
Tankers built to this design have double sides but not a double bottom. Instead,
another deck is installed inside the cargo tank with the venting arranged in
such a way that there is an upward pressure on the bottom of the hull.
Other methods of design and construction may be accepted as alternatives
"provided that such methods ensure at least the same level of protection against
oil pollution in the event of a collision or stranding and are approved in principle
by the Marine Environment Protection Committee based on guidelines developed
by the Organization.
For oil tankers
of 20,000 dwt and above new requirements were introduced concerning subdivision
also considerably reduced the amount of oil which can be discharged into the
sea from ships (for example, following the cleaning of cargo tanks or from engine
room bilges). Originally oil tankers were permitted to discharge oil or
oily mixtures at the rate of 60 litres per nautical mile. The amendments
reduced this to 30 litres. For non‑tankers of 400 grt and above the permitted
oil content of the effluent which may be discharged into the sea is cut from
100 parts per million to 15 parts per million.
Regulation 24(4), which deals with the limitation of size and arrangement
of cargo tanks, was also modified.
Regulation 13G applies to existing crude oil tankers of 20,000 dwt
and product carriers of 30,000 dwt and above.
Tankers that are 25 years old and which were not constructed
according to the requirements of the 1978 Protocol to MARPOL 73/78 have to be
fitted with double sides and double bottoms. The Protocol applies to tankers
ordered after 1 June 1979, which were begun after 1 January 1980 or completed
after 1 June 1982. Tankers built according to the standards of the Protocol
are exempt until they reach the age of 30.
Existing tankers are subject to an enhanced programme of inspections during
their periodical, intermediate and annual surveys. Tankers that are five years
old or more must carry on board a completed file of survey reports together
with a conditional evaluation report endorsed by the flag Administration.
Tankers built in the 1970s which are at or past their 25th must comply
with Regulation 13F. If not, their owners must decide whether to convert them
to the standards set out in regulation 13F, or to scrap them.
Another set of tankers built according to the standards of the 1978 protocol
will soon be approaching their 30th birthday - and the same decisions must be
Adoption: 13 November
Entry into force: 3 March 1996
affect four of the Convention's five technical annexes (II III, V, and I) and
are all designed to improve the way it is implemented. They make it possible
for ships to be inspected when in the ports of other Parties to the Convention
to ensure that crews are able to carry out essential shipboard procedures relating
to marine pollution prevention. These are contained in resolution A.742 (18),
which was adopted by the IMO Assembly in November 1993.
amendments are similar to those made to SOLAS in May 1994. Extending port State
control to operational requirements is seen as an important way of improving the
efficiency with which international safety and anti-pollution treaties are
The 1995 amendments
Adoption: 14 September
Entry into force: 1 July 1997
concern Annex V. They are designed to improve the way the Convention is implemented.
Regulation 2 was clarified and a new regulation 9 added dealing with placards,
garbage management plans and garbage record keeping.
The 1996 amendments
Adoption: 10 July 1996
Entry into force: 1 January 1998
One set of
amendments concerned Protocol I to the Convention which contains provisions
for reporting incidents involving harmful substances. The amendments included
more precise requirements for the sending of such reports.
Other amendments brought requirements in MARPOL concerning the IBC and
BCH Codes into line with amendments adopted to SOLAS.
Adoption: 23 September
Entry into force: 1 February 1999
Regulation 25A to Annex 1 specifies intact stability criteria for double
Another amendment made the North West European waters a "special area"
under Regulation 10 of Annex 1. The waters cover the North Sea and its
approaches, the Irish Sea and its approaches, the Celtic Sea, the English Channel
and its approaches and part of the North East Atlantic immediately to the West
areas, discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixture from any oil tanker and
ship over 400 gt is prohibited. Other special areas already designated
under Annex I of MARPOL include: the Mediterranean Sea area, the Baltic Sea
area, the Red Sea area, the Gulf of Aden area and the Antarctic area.
Protocol of 1997 (Annex VI - Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution
Adoption: 26 September 1997
Entry into force: 19
was adopted at a Conference held from 15 to 26 September 1997 and adds a new
Annex VI on Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships
to the Convention.
The rules set
limits on sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ship exhausts
and prohibit deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances.
The new Annex
VI includes a global cap of 4.5% m/m on the sulphur content of fuel oil and
calls on IMO to monitor the worldwide average sulphur content of fuel once the
Protocol comes into force.
Annex VI contains provisions allowing for special "SOx Emission Control
Areas" to be established with more stringent control on sulphur emissions. In
these areas, the sulphur content of fuel oil used on board ships must not exceed
1.5% m/m. Alternatively, ships must fit an exhaust gas cleaning system
or use any other technological method to limit SOx emissions.
Sea is designated as a SOx Emission Control area in the Protocol.
Annex VI prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances,
which include halons and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). New installations containing
ozone-depleting substances are prohibited on all ships. But new installations
containing hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are permitted until 1 January
of the IMO Protocol are in accordance with the Montreal Protocol of 1987, as
amended in London in 1990. The Montreal Protocol is an international environmental
treaty, drawn up under the auspices of the United Nations, under which nations
agreed to cut CFC consumption and production in order to protect the ozone layer.
Annex VI sets limits on emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from diesel
engines. A mandatory NOx Technical Code, developed by IMO, defines how this
is to be done.
The Annex also
prohibits the incineration on board ship of certain products, such as contaminated
packaging materials and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Format of Annex VI
Annex VI consists of three Chapters and a number of Appendices:
|| Chapter 1 - General
|| Chapter II - Survey, Certification and Means of Control
|| Chapter III - Requirements for Control of Emissions from Ships
||Appendices, including the form of the International Air Pollution
Prevention Certificate; criteria and procedures for designation of SOx emission
control areas; information for inclusion in the bunker delivery note; approval
and operating limits for shipboard incinerators; test cycles and weighting
factors for verification of compliance of marine diesel engines with the
NOx limits; and details of surveys and inspections to be carried out.
The 2000 amendments
Adoption: 1 July 1999
Entry into force: 1 January 2001 (under tacit acceptance)
Amendments to Regulation 13G of Annex I (Regulations for the Prevention
of Pollution by Oil) make existing oil tankers between 20,000 and 30,000 tons
deadweight carrying persistent product oil, including heavy diesel oil and fuel
oil, subject to the same construction requirements as crude oil tankers.
Regulation 13G requires, in principle, existing tankers to comply with
requirements for new tankers in Regulation 13F, including double hull requirements
for new tankers or alternative arrangements, not later than 25 years after date
extend the application from applying to crude oil tankers of 20,000 tons deadweight
and above and product carriers of 30,000 tons deadweight and above, to also
apply to tankers between 20,000 and 30,000 tons deadweight which carry heavy
diesel oil or fuel oil.
The aim of
the amendments is to address concerns that oil pollution incidents involving
persistent oils are as severe as those involving crude oil, so regulations applicable
to crude oil tankers should also apply to tankers carrying persistent oils.
Related amendments to the Supplement of the IOPP (International Oil Pollution
Prevention) Certificate, covering in particular oil separating/filtering equipment
and retention and disposal of oil residues were also adopted.
A third MARPOL
73/78 amendment adopted relates to Annex II of MARPOL Regulations for the Control
of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk. The amendment adds a new
regulation 16 requiring a Shipboard marine pollution emergency plan for noxious
Amendments were also made to the International Code for the Construction
and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC Code) and the
Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals
in Bulk (BCH Code). The amendments address the maintenance of venting systems,
Adoption: 13 March
Entry into force: 1 January 2002 (under tacit acceptance)
to Annex III (Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea
in Packaged Form) deletes tainting as a criterion for marine pollutants from
the Guidelines for the identification of harmful substances in packaged form.
Tainting refers to the ability of a product to be taken up by an organism and
thereby affect the taste or smell of seafood making it unpalatable. A substance
is defined as tainting when it has been found to taint seafood.
means that products identified as being marine pollutants solely on the basis
of their tainting properties will no longer be classified as marine pollutants.
Adoption: 27 April 2001
Entry into force: 1 September 2002
The amendment to Annex I brought in a new new global timetable for accelerating
the phase-out of single-hull oil tankers which was subsequently
revised again by the 2003 amendments.
The flag state administration may allow for some newer single hull ships
registered in its country that conform to certain technical specifications to
continue trading until the 25th anniversary of their delivery.
However, under the provisions of paragraph 8(b), any Port State can deny entry
of those single hull tankers which are allowed to operate until their 25th anniversary
to ports or offshore terminals. They must communicate their intention to do
this to IMO.
As an additional precautionary measure, a Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS)
will have to be applied to all Category 1 vessels continuing to trade after
2005 and all Category 2 vessels after 2010.
Although the CAS does not specify structural standards in excess of the provisions
of other IMO conventions, codes and recommendations, its requirements stipulate
more stringent and transparent verification of the reported structural condition
of the ship and that documentary and survey procedures have been properly carried
out and completed.
The requirements of the CAS include enhanced and transparent verification of
the reported structural condition and of the ship and verification that the
documentary and survey procedures have been properly carried out and completed.
The Scheme requires that compliance with the CAS is assessed during the Enhanced
Survey Programme of Inspections concurrent with intermediate or renewal surveys
currently required by resolution A.744(18), as amended.
Adoption: 4 December 2003
Entry into force: April 2005
Under a revised
regulation 13G of Annex I of MARPOL, the final phasing-out date for Category
1 tankers (pre-MARPOL tankers) is brought forward to 2005, from 2007. The final
phasing-out date for category 2 and 3 tankers (MARPOL tankers and smaller tankers)
is brought forward to 2010, from 2015.
timetable for the phasing out of single-hull tankers is as follows:
of oil tanker
April 2005 for ships delivered on 5 April 1982 or earlier
2005 for ships delivered after 5 April 1982
April 2005 for ships delivered on 5 April 1977 or earlier
2005 for ships
delivered after 5 April 1977 but before 1 January 1978
2006 for ships delivered in 1978 and 1979
2007 for ships delivered in 1980 and 1981
2008 for ships delivered in 1982
2009 for ships delivered in 1983
2010 for ships delivered in 1984 or later
Under the revised
regulation, the Condition Assessment Scheme (CAS) is to be made applicable to
all single-hull tankers of 15 years, or older. Previously it was applicable
to all Category 1 vessels continuing to trade after 2005 and all Category 2
vessels after 2010. Consequential enhancements to the CAS scheme were also adopted.
regulation allows the Administration (flag State) to permit continued operation
of category 2 or 3 tankers beyond 2010 subject to satisfactory results from
the CAS, but the continued operation must not go beyond the anniversary of the
date of delivery of the ship in 2015 or the date on which the ship reaches 25
years of age after the date of its delivery, whichever is earlier.
In the case
of certain Category 2 or 3 oil tankers fitted with only double bottoms or double
sides not used for the carriage of oil and extending to the entire cargo tank
length or double hull spaces, not meeting the minimum distance protection requirements,
which are not used for the carriage of oil and extend to the entire cargo tank
length, the Administration may allow continued operation beyond 2010, provided
that the ship was in service on 1 July 2001, the Administration is satisfied
by verification of the official records that the ship complied with the conditions
specified and that those conditions remain unchanged. Again, such continued
operation must not go beyond the date on which the ship reaches 25 years of
age after the date of its delivery.
heavy grade oil
A new MARPOL regulation 13H on the prevention of oil pollution from oil tankers
when carrying heavy grade oil (HGO) bans the carriage of HGO in single-hull
tankers of 5,000 tons dwt and above after the date of entry into force of the
regulation (5 April 2005), and in single-hull oil tankers of 600 tons dwt and
above but less than 5,000 tons dwt, not later than the anniversary of their
delivery date in 2008.
new regulation, HGO means any of the following:
oils having a density at 15ºC higher than 900 kg/m3;
oils having either a density at 15ºC higher than 900 kg/ m3 or a kinematic
viscosity at 50ºC higher than 180 mm2/s; and
bitumen, tar and their emulsions.
In the case of
certain Category 2 or 3 tankers carrying heavy grade oil as cargo, fitted only
with double bottoms or double sides, not used for the carriage of oil and extending
to the entire cargo tank length, or double hull spaces not meeting the minimum
distance protection requirements which are not used for the carriage of oil
and extend to the entire cargo tank length, the Administration may allow continued
operation of such ships beyond 5 April 2005 until the date on which the ship
reaches 25 years of age after the date of its delivery.
13(H) also allows for continued operation of oil tankers of 5,000 tons dwt and
above, carrying crude oil with a density at 15ºC higher than 900 kg/ m3
but lower than 945 kg/ m3, if satisfactory results of the Condition Assessment
Scheme warrant that, in the opinion of the Administration, the ship is fit to
continue such operation, having regard to the size, age, operational area and
structural conditions of the ship and provided that the continued operation
shall not go beyond the date on which the ship reaches 25 years after the date
of its delivery.
may allow continued operation of a single hull oil tanker of 600 tons deadweight
and above but less than 5,000 tons deadweight, carrying heavy grade oil as cargo,
if, in the opinion of the Administration, the ship is fit to continue such operation,
having regard to the size, age, operational area and structural conditions of
the ship, provided that the operation shall not go beyond the date on which
the ship reaches 25 years after the date of its delivery.
of a Party to the present Convention may exempt an oil tanker of 600 tons deadweight
and above carrying heavy grade oil as cargo if the ship is either engaged in
voyages exclusively within an area under the Party's jurisdiction, or is engaged
in voyages exclusively within an area under the jurisdiction of another Party,
provided the Party within whose jurisdiction the ship will be operating agrees.
The same applies to vessels operating as floating storage units of heavy grade
A Party to
MARPOL 73/78 shall be entitled to deny entry of single hull tankers carrying
heavy grade oil which have been allowed to continue operation under the exemptions
mentioned above, into the ports or offshore terminals under its jurisdiction,
or deny ship-to-ship transfer of heavy grade oil in areas under its jurisdiction
except when this is necessary for the purpose of securing the safety of a ship
or saving life at sea.
The amendments to MARPOL regulation 13G, the addition of a new regulation 13H,
consequential amendments to the IOPP Certificate and the amendments to the Condition
Assessment Scheme were adopted by the Committee as MEPC Resolutions
resolutions adopted by the Committee, another on early implementation urged
Parties to MARPOL 73/78 seriously to consider the application of the amendments
as soon as possible to ships entitled to fly their flag, without waiting for
the amendments to enter into force and to communicate this action to the Organization.
It also invited the maritime industry to implement the aforesaid amendments
to Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 effectively as soon as possible.
2004 (April) Amendments
Adoption: 1 April 2004
Entry into force: 1 August 2005
Annex will apply to new ships engaged in international voyages, of 400 gross
tonnage and above or which are certified to carry more than 15 persons. Existing
ships will be required to comply with the provisions of the revised Annex IV
five years after the date of its entry into force, namely 27 September 2008.
The Annex requires ships to be equipped with either a sewage treatment plant
or a sewage comminuting and disinfecting system or a sewage holding tank.
of sewage into the sea will be prohibited, except when the ship has in operation
an approved sewage treatment plant or is discharging comminuted and disinfected
sewage using an approved system at a distance of more than three nautical miles
from the nearest land; or is discharging sewage which is not comminuted or disinfected
at a distance of more than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
to the Appendix to MARPOL Annex V on Prevention of pollution by garbage from
ships which relate to the recording of the disposal of cargo residues in the
Garbage Record Book.
2004 (October) Amendments
Adoption: 15 October 2004
Entry into force: 1 January 2007
Annex I (oil)
The revised MARPOL Annex I Regulations for the prevention of pollution by
incorporates the various amendments adopted since MARPOL entered into force
in 1983, including the amended regulation 13G (regulation 20 in the revised
annex) and regulation 13H (regulation 21 in the revised annex) on the phasing-in
of double hull requirements for oil tankers. It also separates, in different
chapters, the construction and equipment provisions from the operational requirements
and makes clear the distinctions between the requirements for new ships and
those for existing ships. The revision provides a more user-friendly, simplified
in the revised Annex I include the following:
22 Pump-room bottom protection: on oil tankers of 5,000 tonnes deadweight
and above constructed on or after 1 January 2007, the pump-room shall be
provided with a double bottom.
23 Accidental oil outflow performance - applicable to oil tankers delivered
on or after [date of entry into force of revised Annex I plus 36 months]
1 January 2010; construction requirements to provide adequate protection
against oil pollution in the event of stranding or collision.
Oman Sea - new
special area under MARPOL Annex I
The Oman Sea area of the Arabian Seas is designated as a special area in the
revised Annex I.The
other special areas in Annex I are: Mediterranean Sea area; Baltic Sea area;
Black Sea area; Red Sea area; "Gulfs" area; Gulf of Aden area; Antarctic
area; and North West European Waters. In the special areas, there are stricter
controls on discharge of oily wastes.
Annex II (noxious liquid substances carried in bulk)
The revised Annex II Regulations for the control of pollution by noxious
liquid substances in bulk includes a new four-category categorization system
for noxious and liquid substances. The revised annex is expected to enter into
force on 1 January 2007.
The new categories are:
X: Noxious Liquid Substances which, if discharged into the sea from
tank cleaning or deballasting operations, are deemed to present a major
hazard to either marine resources or human health and, therefore, justify
the prohibition of the discharge into the marine environment;
Y: Noxious Liquid Substances which, if discharged into the sea from
tank cleaning or deballasting operations, are deemed to present a hazard
to either marine resources or human health or cause harm to amenities or
other legitimate uses of the sea and therefore justify a limitation on the
quality and quantity of the discharge into the marine environment;
Z: Noxious Liquid Substances which, if discharged into the sea from
tank cleaning or deballasting operations, are deemed to present a minor
hazard to either marine resources or human health and therefore justify
less stringent restrictions on the quality and quantity of the discharge
into the marine environment; and
Substances: substances which have been evaluated and found to fall outside
Category X, Y or Z because they are considered to present no harm to marine
resources, human health, amenities or other legitimate uses of the sea when
discharged into the sea from tank cleaning of deballasting operations. The
discharge of bilge or ballast water or other residues or mixtures containing
these substances are not subject to any requirements of MARPOL Annex II.
The revised annex includes a number of other significant changes. Improvements
in ship technology, such as efficient stripping techniques, has made possible
significantly lower permitted discharge levels of certain products which have
been incorporated into Annex II. For ships constructed on or after 1 January 2007
the maximum permitted residue in the tank and its associated piping left after
discharge will be set at a maximum of 75 litres for products in categories X,
Y and Z - compared with previous limits which set a maximum of 100 or 300 litres,
depending on the product category.
revision of Annex II, the marine pollution hazards of thousands of chemicals have
been evaluated by the Evaluation of Hazardous Substances Working Group, giving
a resultant GESAMP2 Hazard Profile which indexes the substance according to its
bio-accumulation; bio-degradation; acute toxicity; chronic toxicity; long-term
health effects; and effects on marine wildlife and on benthic habitats.
As a result
of the hazard evaluation process and the new categorization system, vegetable
oils which were previously categorized as being unrestricted will now be required
to be carried in chemical tankers. The revised Annex includes, under regulation
4 Exemptions, provision for the Administration to exempt ships certified to carry
individually identified vegetable oils, subject to certain provisions relating
to the location of the cargo tanks carrying the identified vegetable oil.
An MEPC resolution on Guidelines for the transport of vegetable oils in deep
tanks or in independent tanks specially designed for the carriage of such vegetable
oils on board dry cargo ships allows general dry cargo ships that are currently
certified to carry vegetable oil in bulk to continue to carry these vegetable
oils on specific trades. The guidelines also take effect on 1 January 2007.
amendments to the IBC Code
Consequential amendments to the International Bulk Chemical Code (IBC Code)
were also adopted at the session, reflecting the changes to MARPOL Annex II.
The amendments incorporate revisions to the categorization of certain products
relating to their properties as potential marine pollutants as well as revisions
to ship type and carriage requirements following their evaluation by the Evaluation
of Hazardous Substances Working Group.
after 1986 carrying substances identified in chapter 17 of the IBC Code must
follow the requirements for design, construction, equipment and operation of
ships contained in the Code.
Adoption: 22 July 2005
Entry into force: 21 November 2006
The amendments to the Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution
from Ships in Annex VI include the establishment of the North Sea SOx Emission
Control Area (SECA).
The NOx Technical
Code was also updated.
Adoption: March 2006
Entry into force: 1 August 2007
regulation on oil fuel tank protection
The amendment to the revised MARPOL Annex I (which was adopted in October 2004
with entry into force set for 1 January 2007) includes a new regulation 12A
on oil fuel tank protection. The regulation is intended to apply to all ships
delivered on or after 1 August 2010 with an aggregate oil fuel capacity of 600m3
and above. It includes requirements for the protected location of the fuel tanks
and performance standards for accidental oil fuel outflow. A maximum capacity
limit of 2,500m3 per oil fuel tank is included in the regulation,
which also requires Administrations to consider general safety aspects, including
the need for maintenance and inspection of wing and double-bottom tanks or spaces,
when approving the design and construction of ships in accordance with the regulation.
Consequential amendments to the IOPP Certificate were also adopted.
The MEPC also agreed to include appropriate text referring to the new regulation
in the amendments to the Guidelines for the application of the revised MARPOL
Annex I requirements to FPSOs and FSUs and approved a Unified Interpretation
on the application of the regulation to column-stabilized MODUs.
of heavy grade oil
A further amendment to the revised MARPOL Annex I relates to the definition
of "heavy grade oil" in regulation 21 on Prevention of oil pollution
from oil tankers carrying heavy grade oil as cargo, replacing the words
"fuel oils" with "oils, other than crude oils", thereby
broadening the scope of the regulation.
The amendment to MARPOL Annex IV Prevention of pollution by sewage from ships
adds a new regulation 13 on Port State control on operational requirements.
The regulation states that a ship, when in a port or an offshore terminal of
another Party, is subject to inspection by officers duly authorized by such
Party concerning operational requirements under the Annex, where there are clear
grounds for believing that the master or crew are not familiar with essential
shipboard procedures relating to the prevention of pollution by sewage.
to BCH Code
Amendments to the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying
Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (BCH Code) were adopted as a consequence of the
revised Annex II of MARPOL 73/78 and the amended International Code for the
Construction and Equipment of Ships carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk (IBC
Code), which are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2007. The MEPC also
adopted a resolution on Early and Effective Application of the 2006 amendments
to the BCH Code to invite MARPOL Parties to consider the application of
the amendments to the BCH Code, as soon as practically possible, to ships entitled
to fly their flag. Also adopted were the revised Guidelines for the provisional
assessment of liquids transported in bulk. In this context the Committee
urged industry, in particular the chemical industry, to provide information
on the revision of List 2 of the MEPC circular which contains pollutant-only
mixtures based on section 5 of the revised Guidelines.
Adoption: October 2006
Entry into force: 1 March 2008/1 January 2010
into force: 1 March 2008
The designation of the Southern South Africa waters as a Special Area under
Annex I (Regulations for the prevention of pollution by oil from ships)
, will provide measures to protect wildlife and the marine environment in an
ecologically important region used intensively by shipping.
into force: 1 January 2010
The revised MARPOL Annex III Regulations for the prevention of pollution
by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form. The Annex has been
revised to harmonize the regulations with the criteria for defining marine pollutants
which have been adopted by the UN Transport of Dangerous Goods (TDG) Sub-Committee,
based on the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification
and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
Adoption: July 2007
Entry into force: 1 December 2008
An amendment to
MARPOL Annex I (Regulations for the prevention of pollution by oil from ships)
to include in regulation 38.2.5, on Reception facilities outside Special Areas,
mention of the obligation to provide facilities in respect of oily mixtures
from cargo areas of oil tankers, by referencing regulation 34 on discharge requirements
from those cargo areas.
An amendment to
MARPOL Annex IV (Regulations for the prevention of pollution by sewage from
ships) to include in regulation 11.1.1, on the requirements for discharge of
sewage into the sea, the phrase "or sewage originating from spaces containing
living animals". The amendment makes clear that animal effluent shall be
discharged into the sea, not instantaneously, but at a moderate rate, as is
currently the requirement for the discharge of untreated sewage from holding