Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Reporting ship sourced pollution

How to report oil and chemical spills.

What is a pollution incident?

The following pollution activity should be reported:

  • Any quantity of oil. If oil can be seen then it is probably an illegal discharge. Oil includes waste oil, fuel oil, sludge, lube oil and other additives
  • Any discharge from a ship involving washings of chemical or dry cargoes
  • Any garbage disposed of in the sea. This includes any plastics,  paper, bottles, metal, ashes and other general waste.

How to report a pollution incident

To report a pollution incident, submit a POLREP form or call our incident response telephone number.

If you witness a vessel polluting, you can report the incident to AMSA or the local port/marine/transport authority. They will ask for details about the incident, including:

  • When and where the incident occurred
  • The name of the vessel
  • Type and extent of pollution
  • Other witnesses or nearby vessels
  • Any other information you think may be important.

 If possible take photographs or video images of the pollution, vessel or persons involved.

When should I report an incident?

While ships are permitted to dispose some types of waste at sea, there are strict requirements relating to the type of waste and the distance from land where the disposal may take place. All pollution sightings should still be reported and authorities will determine whether the discharge/disposal is illegal.

For further information on ship’s reporting requirements under the MARPOL Convention, please see the AMSA Marine Pollution (MARPOL) reporting page.

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