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MARPOL and its implementation in Australia

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention for addressing ship sourced pollution.

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) includes regulations aimed at preventing both accidental pollution and pollution from routine vessel operations.

MARPOL includes six technical annexes:

  • Annex I: Regulations for the prevention of pollution by oil
  • Annex II: Regulations for the control of pollution by noxious liquid substances in bulk
  • Annex III: Regulations for the prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form
  • Annex IV: Regulations for the prevention of pollution by sewage from ships
  • Annex V: Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships
  • Annex VI: Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships

Australia implements MARPOL through the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 and the Navigation Act 2012. Read the MARPOL convention.

The Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution From Ships) Act 1983 includes a number of enforcement related provisions derived from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. These are:

  • Extension of the application of the Act to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) (section 6).
  • Provisions which require foreign ships to provide information (section 26G).
  • Detention of foreign ships suspected of involvement in pollution breaches. (The ship must be released on the posting of a bond or in the event of other circumstances arising as listed in the Act, section 27A).
  • Provision that detention may include escorting a ship into port (subsection 27A(1A)).
  • Provision to ensure that proceedings in Australia against a foreign ship for a pollution breach will be suspended if proceedings for the same pollution breach are taken in the flag state of the ship (subsection 29(2)).
  • Provision of specific powers relating to inspection of ships in the EEZ which are suspected of having caused a pollution breach.
  • A requirement for an Australian ship that is in the territorial sea or the EEZ of a foreign country to provide information required by that country to determine if a pollution breach has occurred (section 27C).

Implementation

The Commonwealth legislation giving effect to MARPOL is:

State and territory legislation giving effect to MARPOL is:

 

Annex I—oil

Annex II—chemicals

Annex III—packaged

Annex IV—sewage

Annex V—garbage

Annex VI—air pollution

QLD

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

NSW

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

VIC*

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

TAS

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

SA

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

WA

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

NT

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

*Operational aspects only

Annex IV of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty

The summary and text of this Protocol can be found at the Antarctic Treaty Committee for Environmental Protection website.

Entry into force: 14 January 1998 (International and for Australia)

Implementation

The Commonwealth legislation giving effect to the ship based pollution aspects of this Protocol is the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983.

    Related information:

     

    Last updated: 

    Friday 23 November 2018