Annex I – Regulations for Prevention of Pollution by Oil

w.e.f- 2 october, 1983

The term usually refers to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the coastal waters, but spills mainly occur on land. Pollution at sea shore caused by oil spills may be due to releases of crude oil from tankers, drilling rigs and wells, spills of refined petroleum products (such as gasoline, diesel) and their by-products, bunker fuel which is a heavy fuel used by large ships or oil refuse spill or spill of waste oil. A liquid petroleum hydrocarbon when disclosed into the environment, specifically the marine ecosystem, due to human activity is termed as an oil spill.

Oil Spill
Oil Pollution by Ships, Source:- Internet, Courtesy:- oceanpollutioneng

Oil spills penetrate into the structure of the feathers of birds and the fur of mammals, reducing their insulating ability, and making them more exposed to temperature fluctuations and a lot less cheerful in the water bodies. Clean-up and recovery of an oil spill is strenuous and depends upon various factors, including the type of oil spilled into the water body, the climatic condition of the water and the kind of shorelines and the beaches included. To clean an oil spill, it can take weeks or even months for that task. Oil spills can have devastating outcomes for all be it society, economy, environment and socially. As a result, oil spill accidents have gained profusion media attention and political commotion, bringing many together in a political outrage concerning government response to oil spills and what actions can be best preventive measures.

Preventions Taken

Vessel maintenance:

  • Bolts must be tightened in the engine to prevent oil leaks. Bolts usually shake loose with the use of engine.
  • Replace ruptured or wearied hydraulic lines and fittings before they break down. Lines can be tattered from sun or heat exposure or corrosion.
  • An oil trat or drip pan must be organized in the engine. We don’t need anything fancy or really exorbitant; a cookie sheet or paint tray will do the required.
  • Construct your own bilge sock from the oil absorbent pads to prevent oily water to void into water bodies.

At the pump:

  • Keep away from overflows while refuelling by keeping in knowledge about the capacity of your tank and leaving some margin for fuel expansion.
  • Cease the operation of your bilge pump while refuelling – don’t fail to restart it back when refuelling is done.
  • Make use of an absorbent pad or a fuel collar to capture drips. Always keep a stock handy.
  • If spills do occur by misfortune, it’s necessary that boaters manage them productively. Spills should straight away be contained and cleaned up with absorbent pads or resonate to prevent their lay out. Inform the Coast Guard and your state spill response office, per federal law, and let the fuel dock staff have information about the incident, so they can guide you.


MARPOL, that stands for marine pollution, is the International Convention for the Avoidance of Pollution from Ships. It is one of the principal international marine environmental protocols. It was flourished and enlarged by the International Maritime Organization with a target to prune pollution of the oceans and seas, including discarding, oil and air pollution.

The primary MARPOL was signed on 17 February 1973, but did not come into action at the signing date. The current protocol is an amalgamation of 1973 Convention and the 1978 Protocol which came into action on 2 October 1983. As of January 2018, 156 states are gathering to the convention, being flag states of 99.42% of the world’s shipping tonnage. All ships labelled under countries that are sponsored to MARPOL are subject to its demands, nonetheless of where they sail and who all are the member nations that are accountable for vessels put down on their national ship enrollment.

Courtesy:- Tufts University

ANNEX 1 – Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil

w.e.f- 2nd October, 1983

MARPOL Annex I came into action on 2 October 1983 and trade in with the extravasation of oil into the ocean environment. It assimilates the oil discharge criteria authorized within the 1969 amendments to the 1954 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the ocean by Oil (OILPOL). It set downs tanker design features that have a purpose to shrink oil discharge into the ocean through ship operations and in case of hazards. It provides synchronization with reference to the treatment of engineering bilge water for all huge commercial vessels and ballast and tank cleaning waste. It also instigates the notion of special sea areas which are believed to be hazardous to pollution by oil. Expulsion of oil within them has been completely outlawed, with a couple of nominal exceptions. The first half of MARPOL Annex I engages with engineering waste. There are several generations of automations and equipment that are advanced to stop waste such as: 

  • Oily water separators (OWS)
  • Oil Content meters (OCM)
  • Port Reception Facilities

The second part of the MARPOL Annex I has a lot to do with cleaning the shipment areas and tanks. Oil Discharge Monitoring Equipment (ODME) is a very supreme technology introduced in MARPOL Annex I that has vastly helped in improved sanitation in these areas.

The Oil Record Book is another essential part of MARPOL Annex I. The Oil Record Book helps in keeping crew members logs and keeps record of oily waste water discharges among other things.

The precautions of oil spillage from ships and to keep the sea safer from oil pollution is basically the responsibility of the ship’s crew. Oil from the vessels can get into the ocean thanks to accidental spills and leakages or by the operational unconsciousness of the ship’s crew. When the oil gets into the water, it spreads rapidly over the surface of the water, and the potency of pollution depends on the relative density and constitution of the oil. The results can be devastating as oil spread on water has a significant harmful impact on sea animals and humans. Any oil spill not only affects the current marine environment but also demolishes the marine species and coastal organic substrate.

Oily Water Separators(OWS)

As the name designates, the purpose of oily water separator is to differentiate maximum amount of oil particles from the water to be refrained overboard from engineering or cargo hold bilges, oil tanks and oil-adulterated spaces. According to maritime rules, the oil ratio in the ocean from the OWS must be less than 15 parts per million of oil. Bilge water maybe a near-unavoidable product of shipboard operations. Oil leaks from running machinery like diesel generators, air compressors, and therefore the main propulsion engine. Modern OWSs have alarms and automatic termination devices which are initiated when the oil storage content of the waste water exceeds a certain limit.

OWS, Courtesy:-

OWS consists of mainly three segments:

  • Separator Unit
  • The Filter Unit
  • Oil Content Monitor and Control Unit

Oil Content Meters(OCM)

The OCM continuously keeps a watch on how much oil is in the water that is to be pumped out the discharge line of the OWS system. The OCM will not accept the oil concentration of the exiting water to be above the standard set by MARPOL of 15 ppm. This standard was first accepted in 1977 with Resolution A.393(X) which was brought out by IMO. These standards were refurbished on various instances but the most recent aspiration is MEPC 108(49). The oil content meter will resonate an alarm if the liquid withdrawing the system has an inconsiderate amount of oil in the mixture. If it is still beyond that standard, then the bilge water will be recurring into the system until it meets the valid criteria. The OCM uses light beams to control how oily the water in the system is. The system will then display the oil accumulation based on a light intensity meter. Modern meters also have a data logging arrangement that can stock oil congregation readings for more than 18 months.

OCM, Courtesy:- Alfalaval

If the OCM decides that there are too many types of oil, the OCM may be defile and needs to be flushed out. By running clean water, the OCM sensor cell can be cleaned. Also scrubbing the sensor area with a bottle brush is another fruitful method. The new MEPC 107(49) rules have set out rigorous actions that required for the OCM to be tamper proof and also the OCM needs to have an alarm that alerts whenever the OCM is being washed. When the alarm goes off, the OCM practicality will be examined by the crew members.

The principle used behind this is ultra-violet fluorescence. The emission of light by a molecule that has captivated light. During the short interim of captivation and extraction, some energy is lost and light of a prolonged wavelength is extracted.

Port Reception Facilities

Port reception facilities are a place where the international shipping ports must supply to collect residues, oily mixtures, and garbage bring about by ships that cannot be discharged straight into the ocean. According to MARPOL 73/78 they must be composed by the Port reception facilities all around the world. The Port reception facility must be available to collect all dirty oil and other contaminants and provide fast and efficient services.

In March 2006, MEPC 54 highlighted the value of reception facilities that would exceed conjectures in the execution of MARPOL and instituted a policy of “zero tolerance of illegal discharges from ships” that can only be imposed when there are enough reception facilities on seaports. Therefore, the Committee nudged all Parties of MARPOL, particularly port States, to attain their treaty duties to serve reception facilities for wastes generated during the normal functioning of ships.

In October 2006, MEPC 55 passed an Action Plan to help the problems experienced by port reception facilities. This was observed as a crucial challenge to master in order to achieve full conformity with MARPOL. The Plan was launched by the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation in charge to better apply MARPOL and to grow environmental awareness among shipping. A new plan to organize the waste must be initiated and ships must be accepted to use the port reception facilities rather than to diffuse waste anywhere in the ocean. As a response, the European Community accepted the Directive 2000/59/EC on port reception services with the aim of abolishing discharges of ship-generated remnants into the ocean. The Directive is by and large aimed at improving the pervasiveness and utilisation of port reception facilities, thereby affixing a spotless and more suitable marine environment. These persuasions were previously inscribed by the MARPOL 73/78 Convention in 1973, however Member States are still struggling in fully executing the demands.

Authored By:- Cdt. Gitanshi Jain, TMI

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