[International Institutions]- MARPOL Convention

What is MARPOL?

  • The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.


  • The MARPOL Convention was adopted on 2 November 1973 at International Maritime Organization.
  • The Protocol of 1978 was adopted in response to a spate of tanker accidents in 1976-1977.
  • As the 1973 MARPOL Convention had not yet entered into force, the 1978 MARPOL Protocol absorbed the parent Convention.
  • The combined instrument entered into force on 2 October 1983.
  • In 1997, a Protocol was adopted to amend the Convention and a new Annex VI was added which entered into force on 19 May 2005.
  • MARPOL has been updated by amendments through the years.

What is MARPOL 73/78

  • MARPOL is short for International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and 73/78 short for the years 1973 and 1978) is one of the most important international marine environmental conventions.
  • It was developed by the International Maritime Organization with an objective to minimize pollution of the oceans and seas, including dumping, oil and air pollution.

Annexes of MARPOL

 The technical requirements of MARPOL are included in six separate Annexes:

Annex I—Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil

Annex II—Regulations for the Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk

Annex III—Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried in Sea in Packaged Form

Annex IV—Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships

Annex V—Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships

Annex VI—Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships

  • In 2011, IMO became the first international regulator for a transport sector to adopt globally binding energy efficiency requirements, which apply to all ships globally, regardless of trading pattern or flag State, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.

There are 150 countries party to this agreement. India is a signatory to MARPOL

Some Facts on Shipping and India’s Coastline

  • Today, the shipping sector accounts for 12% of global sulphur dioxide emissions, 13% of global nitrogen oxide emissions and 3% of global carbon emissions.
  • Shipping fuel constitutes 7% of the global transport oil demand – however, global shipping emissions account for 90% of the transport sector’s sulphur emissions.
  • India has a total coastline of 7516.6 km, out of which mainland coastline consists of 6100 km and islands’ coastline consists of 1197 km.
  • India has a vast coastline with nine states and two union territories, with 73 of the 725 districts maritime ones where nearly 14% of India’s total population resides.
  • The nine states are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal. Union Territories include Daman & Diu, Puducherry, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep Islands.
  • Gujarat has the longest sea coastline in India of 1,600 km.
  • The Eastern coastline includes Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal and extends from Ganga Delta in the North to Kanyakumari in the South.
  • The Western coastline, on the other hand, extends from Rann of Kachchh in the north to Kanyakumari in the South.

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