Pollution Laws

Information on laws

–Machinery operations with potential to pollute

Some pieces of machinery can cause pollution when they malfunction. If you are assigned to engine room watch, be familiar with all the machinery and know the possibilities for oil pollution that can come from internal equipment problems.


–Transferring liquid cargoes or fuels

vent hoses to drainDON’T:

  • Don’t top off tanks at full loading rate. Go slowly.
  • Don’t disconnect hoses before they have drained. Remember to vent them so they can drain.

Before starting, DO:


–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.


–Oil Pollution Act of 1990

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), which amends part of FWPCA/CWA, requires owners and operators of tank vessels and onshore and offshore facilities to develop and submit for approval an Oil Response Plan.4 These plans must, among other things, identify a qualified individual (QI) who is immediately available and who has full authority to implement actions provided in the plans.

Response plans must identify and ensure the availability of private personnel and equipment necessary to remove discharge to the maximum extent practicable.


–Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS)

Reading SOPEPIn the U.S., the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS)2 enacts some of the MARPOL regulations by establishing requirements for the following:


–Federal Water Pollution Control Act, a.k.a. The Clean Water Act

Clean Marine LifeThe Clean Water Act (CWA), the main water pollution control tool in the U.S., prohibits all discharges unless permitted.3


–Intervention on the High Seas Act

The Intervention on the High Seas Act (IHSA) is aimed at preventing or responding to oil pollution from vessels.7



Subscribe to RSS - Pollution Laws