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Thursday, September 20, 2018

INTERTANKO applauds US progress toward ratification of MARPOL Annex VI

On 15 May the White House released the message from President Bush transmitting to the US Senate the Protocol of 1997 to amend the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Annex VI).

Commenting on the news, Dragos Rauta, Technical Director of INTERTANKO said that President Bush’s consent to ratification was significant not only because it addresses the important issue of controllingmarine air emissions in the United States, but also it expresses US Administration support for international curbs on vessel-source air emissions.

The MARPOL Convention is the global agreement to control pollution from ships. MARPOL Annex VI regulates the emission into the atmosphere of specified pollutants from ships. It complements the other annexes to the MARPOL Convention, which relate to the transport of oil (Annex I), harmful substances carried in bulk (Annex II), harmful substances in packaged form (Annex III), ship-generated sewage (Annex IV) and garbage (Annex V). The United States is a party to all of these annexes with the exception of Annex IV.

Dragos Rauta, praised the United States for leadership on this issue: “Air emissions from large marine diesels used aboard ocean-going vessels, including tankers, must be made subject to uniform international standards.  The mobility of the vessels and the variations in fuel quality and refining standards around the world mean that unilateral national efforts to regulate small segments of the international fleet are futile and will only delay progress on air quality improvements that will benefit the global ecology.  With the announcement that President Bush has submitted MARPOL  Annex VI to the Senate for approval, the US  has taken a major step in the direction of preserving a US  role in promoting global air quality improvements.”

The treaty was agreed in 1997 by the world’s major maritime nations and is now awaiting ratification by at least 14 nations controlling over 50 per cent of the world’s shipping tonnage.  INTERTANKO observed that “progress toward ratification of Annex VI has been inexcusably slow, although it now appears that further  countries of the European Union and other major flag states are moving towards approval of the instrument. 

Link to message from President Bush to the US Senate