The International Maritime Organization (IMO) – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships. (Learn more)

MARPOL 73/78 is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978. ("MARPOL" is short for marine pollution and 73/78 short for the years 1973 and 1978.)

MARPOL 73/78 is one of the most important international marine environmental conventions. It was designed to minimize pollution of the seas, including dumping, oil and exhaust pollution. Its stated object is to preserve the marine environment through the complete elimination of pollution by oil and other harmful substances and the minimization of accidental discharge of such substances. (Learn more)


The problems of the marine environment

The problem with marine pollutions is getting the increasing sizes with the fast development and modification of the shipping industry. The degradation of the marine environment might be caused by the following mostly standing out issues: the land-based sources take encompass 70% and maritime transport and discharging dirty ballast water and oil pollution causes 10 % of the total contamination. The most important hazard sources for marine environment damage are nutrients, sediment, metals, litter, oil, plastic, hydrocarbons and the others. The specialists insist that the pollution of the marine habitat that comes from land is serious as these contaminants are persistent, toxic and they might accrue in living organisms. The huge negative impact on polluting marine habitat has maritime transport and shipping. According to the numerous researches the approximate annual discharge into water is 600,000 tons of oil. The process of vessel cleaning from the hazard liquids, dirty ballast water and oily bilge water should be regulated and implemented as required. Still the numerous cases of illegal discharging appears daily in the global shipping industry and transportation.

The influence of the oil pollution

Oil pollution might cause a lot of hard to the whole ecosystems. The biggest loss goes to birds when oil permeates feathers, birds start depriving them and loses the heat-insulating properties. The more bird is trying to move on the more it gets stuck in the oil spot. Oily bilge water is a serious thread to the maritime community. Oil pollution might totally damage all local organisms on the space where it has been discharged. This problem is highlighted in every report based on the environmental protection but overseeing all waters in the world is absolutely impossible.

IMO – International maritime organization

There is a number of global organizations that control the environment and try to reduce the percent of its pollution. One of the main institutions for solving such problems and protecting maritime habitat is IMO. This organization is developing, embedding and controlling executing the measures for preventing doing harm to the maritime habitat. IMO is working since 1959 and for all these years it achieved stunning results but still that is not enough. All the preventive measures work good but the problem is that not all the companies are ready and have desire to work as required with following rules. Nowadays there are from 21 to 23 important working matters that are dealing with marine contamination.

The MARPOL convention

The most powerful and well-known all over the world instrument created by IMO is MARPOL 73/78 convention. This document helps to exclude pollution in sea. The numbers is the name of the convention mean the date when it was first released and the date when it was renovated. Nowadays MARPOL 73/78 consists of the 6 main technical annexes that help divide the spheres and the sources of harmful polluting marine habitat. Availability of the numerous organizations that work for environmental protection both in the land-scale and in the sea positively influences on saving the planet. Still there are some gaps and empty spaces in its regulations and measures that allow unscrupulous companies do harm to nature and damage natural resources.