The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL, short for Marine Pollution) was adopted in 1973 and entered into force ten years later.

It contains regulations designed to prevent pollution of the sea, land and air caused accidentally or during routine operations by ships transporting oil cargoes, by noxious or harmful cargoes, and by sewage and garbage. It also aims at cleaning up the oceans. There are requirements in it for storing, treating and discharging of the above mentioned substances as well as procedures for reporting of incidents involving dangerous goods, harmful substances and/or marine pollutants. The convention includes the following six annexes:

I. Prevention of Pollution by Oil
II. Prevention of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk (e.g. chemicals)
III. Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried in Packages (e.g. containers, tanks)
IV. Prevention of Pollution by Sewage
V. Prevention of Pollution by Garbage
VI. Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships
The original MARPOL Convention 73 together with the 78 Protocol is collectively known as MARPOL 73/78.

All yachts, whether commercial or private, must comply with MARPOL, where applicable.

MARPOL Annex V – On 1st January 2013 MARPOL Annex V requirements for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships entered into force. The new Annex requires that the discharge of all garbage into the sea is prohibited, except as expressly provided otherwise.


Regulation 37 of Annex I of MARPOL requires that oil tankers of 150 tons gross tonnage or more and all ships of 400 tons gross tonnage or more carry an approved shipboard oil pollution plan (SOPEP). The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990, also requires such a plan for certain ships.
SOPEP in itself is a guide line for the response of the vessel’s crew in case of oil pollution and how to report, who will be reporting and what should be reported. It also gives a guide line to control discharge action – with consideration based on Navigation Measures and Seamanship Measures.

Panama Canal SOPEP
Panama Canal Shipboard Oil Prevention Emergency Plan
As of 1 January 2005 all toll paying vessels in passage through the Panama Canal that carry in excess of 400 metric tons (MT) of fuel, are required to have a Panama Canal Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan, duly authorised by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

Read More

Compliance Requirements for Yachts Checklist (21kb PDF)

Garbage Management Checklist (19kb PDF)

MARPOL Annex V (113kb PDF)


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