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Use or carriage of heavy grade oils in the Antarctic—marine notice 08/2015

Advice about a MARPOL amendment to further protect the Antarctic area from pollution by heavy grade oils from ships

Supercedes 05/2011

The purpose of this marine notice is to advise of an amendment to Annex I of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) that will enter into force internationally on 1 March 2016. Annex I of MARPOL contains regulations for the prevention of oil pollution from ships. The aim of the newly adopted amendment is to further protect the Antarctic area from pollution by heavy grade oils from ships.

Since 1 August 2011, the carriage in bulk as cargo or carriage and use as fuel of heavy grade oils by ships in the Antarctic area has been prohibited under Regulation 43 of MARPOL Annex I.

At the 67th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in 2014, an amendment to this regulation was adopted to prohibit the carriage of heavy grade oils as ballast on ships operating in the Antarctic area.

The amended regulation mandates that the carriage in bulk as cargo, use as ballast, or carriage and use as fuel by ships will be prohibited in the Antarctic area. The Antarctic area is defined as the sea area south of latitude 60°S.

For the purposes of this regulation, heavy grade oils are defined as:

  1. crude oils having a density at 15°C higher than 900 kg/m3;
  2. oils, other than crude oils, having a density at 15°C higher than 900 kg/m3 or a kinematic viscosity at 50°C higher than 180 mm2/s; or
  3. bitumen, tar and their emulsions.

An exception to this requirement is provided for vessels engaged in securing the safety of ships or in a search and rescue operation.

When prior operations have included the carriage or use of the heavy grade oils listed above, the cleaning or flushing of tanks or pipelines is not required in order to comply.

Regulation 43 of MARPOL Annex I is enacted in the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983.

Please note that this Marine Notice is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied on for that purpose.

Download Use or carriage of heavy grade oils in the Antarctic—marine notice 08/2015 (PDF 46 KB)

Gary Prosser
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
May 2015

Australian Maritime Safety Authority
GPO Box 2181
CANBERRA ACT 2601

File No. 2015/1697

Last updated: 

Wednesday 14 August 2019