The first international convention recognizing the potential of Oil as a marine pollutant was "OILPOL" Convention, adopted by the conference organized by the UK government in 1956. The convention entered in to force in 1958 together with the convention for the establishment of the IMO. The international maritime organization (IMO) managed OILPOL convention from its beginning.
The OILPOL convention recognized that considerable oil pollution resulted from routine tank washing operations by Oil tankers at sea, therefore set regulation to prohibit dumping of oily waste within a special area or in certain distance from land.
In 1967 M/T Torrey Canyon ran aground and spilled 120000 tonnes crude oil in to the English channel. Following this accident and the growing world concern that the OILPOL convention was no longer adequate to mitigate the pollution hazards despite the various amendments adopted It was essentially these incidents that set in motion the chain of events that eventually led to the adoption of MARPOL Convention.
MARPOL ConventionMARPOL is the main international convention covering ship sourced pollution to the marine environment.
The convention includes regulations and guidelines aimed to minimize and prevent pollution from ships.
In 1973, IMO adopted the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The convention was modified by the Protocols of 1978 and came in to force in 1983. Due to International conventions on climate change and air pollution the IMO assembly amended the convention by the protocol of 1997 whereby the sixth annex was added.
The convention is kept updated by relevant amendments issued by the Marine environment protection Committee (MEPC) which is the responsible committee within the IMO for marine pollution issues. The committee meets twice per year and frequently adopts resolutions to assist in the proper enforcement and guidance to comply with the requirements.
The State of Israel is party to Marpol Convention since 1983 and committed to be proactive and to take proper measures to reduce ship sourced marine pollution. Since then Annex 1,2,3,5 had been ratified and annex 4 and 6 are in progress and expected to be finalized during 2016-2017.
The MARPOL Convention comprises of six annexes addressing various aspects of pollution from ships:
Annex 1 - Prevention of pollution by Oil. Entered into force 10/1983.
Details the discharge criteria and construction requirements of Oil tankers and cargo ships to prevent oil pollution in to the sea due to operational measures and accidental discharges. The Annex was amended in 1992 to construct new oil tankers with double hull. The annex designates ten special areas in which more strict control measures are enforced.
Details the discharge criteria of NLS from tankers (chemical and NLS) and measures to control NLS pollution due to operational measures. Evaluated substances are listed in the IBC code, for ships constructed after 1986, and categorized to X,Y,Z and OS substances.
Residues of X substance shall be washed to a reception facility. Other residues containing a/m substances cannot be discharged in to the sea within 12 Nm from nearest land.
The annex designates the Antarctic area, south of Lat. S 60˚ as a special area in which any discharge is prohibited.
Annex 4 - Prevention of pollution by sewage from ships (Not ratified by israel)
Annex 5 - Prevention of pollution by garbage from ships. Entered into force 12/1988.
This annex details the different type of garbage separated into 9 categories on board ships, the distance from shore and manner in which it may be disposed of. The annex emphasizes the complete ban to dispose any form of plastic in to the sea regardless the location.
This annex deals with exhaust and vapors emission from ships. It sets limits on sulphur and nitrogen oxides emission resulted by fuel burning on board ships, Prohibits the deliberate release of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and discuss the reduction of Volatile organic substances (VOC) released from petroleum products mainly during tanker loading operations. The annex designates specific special areas for SOx and NOx in which more stringent standards are required. The new chapter four adopted in 2011 deals with Energy Efficiency measures of ships in order to reduce overall fuel consumption and achieving a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from ships.