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Focus on pollution prevention – domestic commercial vessel education campaign

AMSA is committed to safe and clean seas. AMSA, on behalf of Australia, is responsible for the implementation of numerous international conventions and codes to which Australia is a signatory.

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which Australia is a party to, is implemented through the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983, the Navigation Act 2012 and AMSA’s Marine Orders that give effect to the applicable MARPOL Annexes.

Specific requirements may apply based on the size (Gross Tonnage), age and type of the vessel, irrespective of whether the vessel meets the definition of a Regulated Australian Vessel (RAV) or Domestic Commercial Vessel (DCV) under the respective Acts.

For DCVs only operating in State/Northern Territory waters, the implementation of MARPOL falls under the relevant State/Northern Territory authority for any Annex of MARPOL that is implemented under State or Northern Territory legislation (Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 paragraph 33(2)(b) and Navigation Act 2012 section 12). AMSA will work with the relevant State/Northern Territory authority in such cases.

MARPOL includes regulations aimed at preventing both accidental pollution and pollution from routine vessel operations, some of these regulations apply to DCVs.

AMSA will conduct an Education Campaign on MARPOL compliance against Annex I (oil pollution), IV (sewage pollution), V (garbage pollution) and VI (air pollution) requirements for DCVs over the period 17 October 2022 to 16 December 2022.

The Education Campaign will focus on AMSA Inspectors asking a series of questions relating to the relevant MARPOL Annex specific to a vessel type in line with the relevant Annex that is applicable to the vessel.

Inspectors will not be issuing deficiencies where vessels are found to not be compliant with MARPOL requirements or procedures or where a lack of awareness of the regulations is found. Compliance action may be taken where there is obvious evidence of the illegal discharge of garbage, sewage or oil into the sea.

Vessel owners and operators should therefore be familiar with:

  • Respective State or Northern Territory legislation that may apply to their operations and
  • Applicable Marine Order provisions and Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983, Navigation Act 2012 legislation will apply in the absence of State/Northern Territory legislation
  • Relevant MARPOL requirements specific to the DCV.

Guidance can be found here:

MARPOL discharge standards in Australia
Garbage Management
Garbage Placards

Inspection process

Marine Inspectors will undertake this Education Campaign in conjunction with regular DCV inspections.

Where an Inspector finds a vessel is not compliant with the relevant MARPOL Annex in relation to the attached checklist (PDF 209.07 KB), the Inspector will discuss this with the person in charge of the DCV to educate with the objective to ensure the vessel is brought into compliance.

Outcome of the Education Campaign 

The results of the Education Campaign will be analysed, and a report prepared for internal AMSA use only to understand the extent of industry compliance with MARPOL.

Last updated: 

Thursday 3 November 2022