impressive track record of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is demonstrated by the success of the MARPOL
Convention in contributing to the substantial reduction of oil pollution since
it entered into force.
level of ratification and enforcement of IMO Conventions is very high in
comparison to international regulations governing many land based industries.
The MARPOL Convention has been ratified and implemented by virtually
every maritime country and is applied, through a combination of flag state and
port state control, to virtually the entire world merchant fleet.
Most significantly, the ability of governments at IMO
to respond to political pressure and to deliver global environmental regulations
involving complex issues has also been demonstrated by the recent agreement, finalised in
to reduce pollutant atmospheric emissions (such as sulphur) from ships
dramatically. Atmospheric pollution
from ships is a similarly complicated subject, but on which an impressive global
consensus has been achieved at IMO.
 MARPOL Annexes I and II (governing prevention of oil and chemical pollution) have been ratified by 149 nations covering over 99% of the world merchant fleet. The recent radical amendments to MARPOL Annex VI (atmospheric pollution) were only adopted in October 2008, but already cover nearly 84% of the world merchant fleet.
The 2008 amendments to MARPOL
Annex VI will, inter alia, reduce
the sulphur content in fuel to just 0.1% in Emission Control Area in 2015
compared to 1.5% permitted today.