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Title- MARPOL 73/ 78: Challenges of regulating vessel- source oil pollution

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The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78) is the most important international marine convention planned and implemented by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the year 1973, in order to prevent pollution from ships, which may occur as a result of both operational and accidental causes. There are a number of challenges that this convention has to face in order to regulate vessel- source oil pollution.




The MARPOL Convention came into force on 2nd November, 1973 at International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Protocol of the year 1978 was adopted in response to the increasing of tanker accidents in year 1976- 1977. As the 1973 MARPOL Convention had not yet came into force, the 1978 MARPOL Protocol immersed into the original Convention. The combined mechanism came into force on 2nd October, 1983. In 1997, a Protocol has been taken up in order to amend the MARPOL Convention and a new Annex VI was included in the convention, which came into force on 19th May, 2005. All the way through these years, MARPOL has been regularly expanding and updating in order to take into consideration the contemporary technical developments and environmental standards. In its 20 articles, the convention includes general obligations of the contracting parties as well as procedures and basic regulations. The provisions that are basically appropriate to the prevention of pollution of the marine environment with regard to the various types of waste products caused by the operation of ships are enumerated in Annex I to VI of the said convention.



The major importance of the MARPOL Convention is that it has been adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in order to prevent pollution from ships and vessel- source oil polluters, which may occur as a result of both operational and accidental causes. It reduces the increasing accidental pollution from oil, dangerous and poisonous substances. It also regulates and controls illegal expulsions and boosts its ability to adapt to climate change.



 The research questions are as follows-

1)      How do the regulations of Maritime Pollution develop? Briefly explain the whole process.

2)      What is the structure of the MARPOL 73/78 Convention and how does it function?   

3)      Is it important to comply with the MARPOL Convention, and if yes, then what are the reasons for its compliance?

4)      What are the consequences for the ship- owner in case of violation of the provisions of the MARPOL Convention?

5)      What are the international regulations and what is position of International Maritime Organization (IMO)?

6)      What is the impact of having multiple jurisdictions associated with the regulation of vessel- source oil pollution?

7)      What are the operational challenges faced in putting MARPOL regulations into practice?



The research methodology adopted in this research project is secondary in nature. Secondary research incorporates information that is extracted from newspapers, journals, articles, online sources, books, and the author is going to extract information and data on the said topic from these sources. Due to the theoretical nature of the said issue, no primary research can be carried out. Thus, only the secondary research is being carried out herein.



This research paper would be contributing majorly in the field of environment. This paper would bring out the important aspects of the MARPOL Convention under an umbrella. It is evident that the environmental pollution from ships and other vessel- source polluters was increasing, thus, giving birth to this convention, which is the first convention in this field of maritime pollution. Though, a lot of research has been carried out by different people, however, everyone has dealt this issue in bits and parts, which consumes more time and energy of the audience. This research paper would be dealing this issue from the scratch, and would be incorporating all the important aspect of this issue under one platform so that it would be easy to address this issue at one place.



·         Caribbean, W. M. (2017). Importance of MARPOL: liability and compensation conventions in the caribbean. Cayman Maritime Conference, 2017, (p. 38). Cayman Islands.
·         Djadjev, I. (2015, June 4). Complying with MARPOL 73/78. 1-18. Groningen, Northern Netherlands, Netherlands: Research Gate.
·         Kumar, S. (2017, December 02). Marine Gyan. Retrieved January 14, 2018, from Marine
·         Szepes, M. (2013). MARPOL 73/78: The challenges thereof. Manchester 1824, The University of Mancheste, 76- 109.

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