Seminar on Maritime Environmental Crimes - Violations of MARPOL Annexes

The Seminar was held on the 6-7 March 2018 in Scheveningen.

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World-wide, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is responsible for developing various international conventions related to marine transport. Contracting parties of the Bonn Agreement and the OSPAR Convention are signatory to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The Convention includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships - both accidental pollution and that from routine operations - and currently includes six technical Annexes. Special Areas with strict controls on operational discharges are included in most Annexes.

The Annex II Regulations for the Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk (entered into force 2 October 1983) details the discharge criteria and measures for the control of pollution by noxious liquid substances carried in bulk; the discharge of their residues is allowed only to reception facilities until certain concentrations and conditions (which vary with the category of substances) are complied with.
Annex VI Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships entered into force 19 May 2005 and a revised Annex VI entered into force 1 July 2010. This Annex sets limits on sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from ship exhausts and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances; designated emission control areas (ECA) set more stringent standards for SOx, NOx and particulate matter.

The Bonn Agreement as a regional agreement is assisting Contracting Parties in the monitoring of all Annexes under MARPOL. At the Ministerial meeting of the Bonn Agreement in 2010, the Ministers reaffirmed their joint commitment to the prevention of accidental and illegal pollution by collaboration on, and collective contribution to, enforcement of international maritime pollution rules and standards. They recognised that provisions such as the designation of the North Sea as a Special Area under MARPOL Annex I and V and as a SOx Emission Control Area under Annex VI, would not be effective unless properly enforced. The Bonn Agreement and the North Sea Network of Investigators and Prosecutors are working together to ensure enforcement of pollution rules and standards for all relevant MARPOL Annexes. The Seminar will address the technical challenges for evidence to court with technical experts and prosecutors. This seminar is an extension of the seminar, held in Middelburg in April 2015 that addressed the technical capabilities for the detection of substances. In the wider sense also this seminar, to which all EU Member States are invited, is the continuation of the series of seminars held in the nineties with the title: Facilitating Effective Prosecution of Offenders of MARPOL Violoations (FEPO)

The aim is for legal advisors, public prosecutors and technical experts to discuss further steps to make monitoring of different substances in accordance with the MARPOL Annexes possible and to gather evidence required to bring suspected violators to court.

If you have any questions, or would like further information about the Seminar, please contact the Bonn Agreement Secretariat.