World Oceans Day & MARPOL ANNEX III

June 08th is observed as World Oceans Day. 2011 & 2012 theme is Youth: the Next Wave for Change.


On this occasion let us look at Annex III of International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973/78.

Annex III of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78), deals with the prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form.

Annex III of MARPOL has 8 regulations, below are the explanation of each.

For full details refer MARPOL or part of IMDG Code 35-10

1.       Application

This regulation identifies harmful substances as those identified as marine pollutant by IMDG Code or any substance which meets the criteria laid down in appendix to annex III.

Packaged form means the forms of containment specified for harmful substances in the IMDG Code.

It further states carriage of substances is prohibited except in accordance with the provisions of this annex. And ask to treat the empty packages used for carriage of harmful substances themselves as harmful substances unless adequate precautions have been taken to ensure that they contain no residue that is harmful to the marine environment. Further states that the provisions of this annex do not apply to ship’s stores.

2.       Packing

Regulation 2 requires the packages to be adequate to minimize the hazard to the marine environment.

3.       Marking and labelling

Regulation 3 requires the packages to be marked with correct technical names and marked or labelled to identify the substance is a marine pollutant. Trade names alone shall not be used. The regulation requires the durability of marking to be such that it survives minimum three months immersion in sea.

4.       Documentation

Documentation of harmful substances shall contain correct technical names and the words “MARINE POLLUTANT”. Each ship carrying harmful substances shall carry a special list of manifest identifying the goods and its stowage locations thereof. This list must be revised at any port where loading and or discharging of harmful substances takes place.

5.       Stowage

Harmful substances are to be stowed on board vessels in such a way to minimize the hazard to the marine environment without jeopardizing safety of the persons on board or ship.

6.       Quantity limitations

Certain harmful substances may need to be prohibited for carriage or limited by quantity which may be carried aboard any one ship. In limiting the quantity  consideration shall be given to size, construction and equipment of the ship, as well as the packaging and the inherent nature of the substances.

7.       Exceptions

Jettisoning of harmful substances are prohibited except when it is needed to secure the safety of life on board vessels or for securing the safety of the vessel.

8.       Port State control on operational requirements