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Its the main international convention aimed at the prevention of pollution from ships caused by operational or accidental causes.


Due to their cargo, tankers pose a particular risk to the environment. The International Maritime Organization IMO has the declared aim to render the transport of oil and oil products by tankers safe and environmentally friendly.

MARPOL 73/78, since it came into force in 1973 and later revised by the protocol in 1978, ensures that shipping remains the least environmentally damaging modes of transport.

It clearly highlights the points to ensure that the marine environment is preserved by the elimination of pollution by all harmful substance which can be discharged from the ship.
  • Annex I: Regulation for prevention of oil pollution (October 1983).
  • Annex II: Regulations for control of pollution by Noxious Liquid Substance in bulk (April 1987).
  • Annex III: Regulation for prevention of pollution by harmful substance carried at sea in packaged form (July 1992).
  • Annex IV: Regulation for prevention of pollution by sewage from ships (Sep 2003).
  • Annex V: Regulation for prevention of pollution by Garbage from ships (Dec 1998).
  • Annex VI: Regulation for prevention of Air pollution from ships (May 2005).
If a country becomes party to MARPOL, then the organization applies to ships registered to that state, wherever they operate. Russia proposed to hold off a tougher international sulfur cap on marine fuel emissions until 2024 for river vessels in the Eurasian Economic Union.

The Ministry of Energy of Russia, together with the Ministry of Transport of Russia, suggests delaying the implementation of rules for lower sulfur content in marine fuel in the territorial waters of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

The United Nations' IMO has decreed that the limit on sulfur content in emissions from ships on the high seas must decrease from the current level of 3.5% to 0.5% as of January 1, 2020.

MARPOL has an extensive number of amendments and protocols. For the most up-to-date version of the convention, please go to the website for the International Maritime Organization: (Click on "Marine Environment" tab).