–Tank-cleaning operations and ballasting operations


  • Don’t take on ballast water into any tank that has not been cleaned.
  • Don’t bypass oil/discharge monitoring equipment.



–Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987

No Plastic in the Water

This Act implements MARPOL 73/78 Annex V in the U.S.6 It applies to ship-generated garbage, and it aims to reduce the amount of garbage—both plastics and other persistent wastes—that ships dump into the oceans. It also prohibits all ships from dumping plastics into the sea.


–Ports and Waterways Safety Act of 1972

captain in wheelhouseDesigned to ensure the safety of ships entering and leaving U.S. ports, the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (PWSA) requires ships to have communication equipment and authorizes the USCG to direct ship traffic if necessary.5

Under the PWSA, the USCG can deny a vessel entry to a U.S. port if that vessel has a history of pollution incidents or discharges any oil or hazardous material in U.S. waters.


–What Impact Do Humans Have on the Marine Environment?


Human activity can alter the oceans with:

  • Natural resource development (e.g., offshore drilling)
  • Aquaculture (e.g., farm-raised fish)
  • Shipping
    —Pollution (e.g., oil, chemicals, trash, sewage)
    —Exotic Species Introduction
    (i.e. ships moving from place to place bring organisms with them to places where they don’t belong, disrupting the local marine environment)

Ways to prevent pollution

cleaning the tank

Ways to prevent pollution

The crew and officers should discuss safety and environmental concerns, reviewing any written documentation jointly, before an operation that has the potential to create pollution begins. The recommendations listed here provide some factors to consider, but you should follow your ship’s protocol.

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