Marpol Annex 1 | Prevention of Pollution From Oil At Sea

Marpol Annex 1 | Prevention of Pollution From Oil At Sea

Last Updated on July 26, 2020 by Amit Abhishek

Marpol Annex 1 is the first and foremost important provision under Marpol 78 regulation. It deals with the pollution of sea due to discharge or oil at sea.

The law was made to limit the damage to the marine environment; due to leakage or accidental oil discharge. While there was local law at the time preventing such oil discharge; it was first such law effective worldwide.

Unlike any other thing, oil spreads quickly floating on top of water due to a lack of density and immersible nature. Once it gets into the water it spread more and more with passing time.

Thus negatively affecting the ecology of the reason. Since the majority of oil carried are quite toxic and vicious; there is an even greater effect on the food chain and coastal plains.

That is why such major international law was required to reduce and contain the damage done to the environment.

Onboard, it is the responsibility of the fellow seafarer to follow the rules described under Marpol Annex 1. It came into effect on 2nd October 1983 containing 7 chapters dealing with the aspects of oil pollution.

These laws and definition under different chapters are amended from time to time; by using MEPC resolutions. The Marpol Annex 1 was last amended in 2016 under MEPC resolution 276 (70); that came into effect on 1 march 2018. One can read about the official document from the link over here on IMO website.

Why Do We Need Law’s Such As Marpol Annex 1 In First Place?

Since the end of the second world war the demand for oil soot up and up. First in the America and much of western Europe and later in Asia; namely Japan, Korea, India and china. Today some 3,000 million tones ( approx figure ) of oil is transported through the sea; of which a substantial part came from the gulf.

Even in the mid 70’s a large part of the oil was carried across the globe in large oil tankers. In absence of any strict law world wide and huge demand for oil; a large portion of tankers accidents happens in 70’s and early 80’s.

For example, the Amoco Cadiz oil spill that took place on 16 March 1979; leads to an oil spill of over 70 million barrels across the coast of Brittany in France.

Accidents such as these and their after effects in form of damage to marine environment and cost of cleaning; it was decided to make stricter law governing oil discharge at sea.

The Marpol bring in rules that lead to structural and equipment change on board ship; in order to reduce such incident and accidental discharge.

Furthermore, it was made sure that the crew must be trained in hand to deal with such a situation; containing the spill and damage due to the oil spill.

Important steeps such as the introduction of the double hull, oily water separator, SOPEP, mandatory traffic separation, and segregated blast tanks; was possible thanks to the stricter laws under Marpol.

Thanks to steps such as these under Marpol annex 1; the events of accidents and subsequent damage to the environment due to oil spill have reduced drastically.

Marpol Annex 1 | Prevention of Pollution From Oil At Sea

The 7 Chapter Dealing With Different Aspects of Oil Pollution

The Marpol Annex 1 was divided into 7 different chapters and their sub-chapters; which deals with the different aspects of oil pollution from definition to control and containment. From IOPP certificates, emergency plans, record books, slop tanks, limitations, ballast tanks, oil filtering, certificates and exception it covers it all.

The significant thing out of all this laws, rules and guidelines within 7 different chapters; the thing that really sets apart is the designation of special areas.

A special area is designated part of the word which needs more consideration; either due to a closed ecological system or high maritime traffic. These special areas have much stricter laws than the rest of the world under Marpol regulation.

Under Annex 1 which states for Prevention of Pollution From Oil At Sea the special area’s are namely; Mediterranean Sea, black sea, the Baltic region, Red sea, Gulf, antarctic, Gulf of Aden, north west European waters etc. Honestly there is few more places in the list which you can check out on IMO official site; from link over here.

1 ) Chapter One – Definition, Application & Exceptions

  • Definition of Oil: The term “oil” is referred to as any petroleum protect either in its raw or refined form or an viscous fluid containing petroleum products. This means all oil and its mixture except the ones mentioned under annex 2 of the Marpol. Ex: crude oil, diesel oil, bilges waters containing traces of oil and other petrol-chemical products.
  • Crude oil: A crude oil is the naturally occurring hydrocarbon mixture in the liquid form suitable to be transported in raw or refined form. It can be either of the form where certain distillates are being added or of kind where some distillate fraction be removed.
  • Oil Fuel: A liquid hydrocarbon mixture that is sued as a fuel in the main propulsion and other auxiliary machinery on the ship.
  • Oily Mixture: In simple words it meany any fuel oil mixture with water or other liquids that contains any traces of oil fuel.
  • Oil tanker: An oil tanker is a ship designed and constructed to carry oil in bulk either in its natural or refined form. The tanker which carry petroleum oil in much of its natural form are called crude oil tankers. Similarly the tankers which carry refined petroleum are called product tankers. Under the regulation it shall also include the combination tankers such as NLS tanker as defined under the annex 2.
  • Rate of discharge: Rate of discharge or the instantaneous rate of discharge is the ratio of oily mixture discharged per hour to the speed of ship in nautical miles or knots.
  • Tanks: A tank is the fixed enclosed structure within the ship with specific intention to hold liquid in bulk. A tank can be in the form of dedicated cargo tanks, wing tank, slope tank, center tank, bilge and ballast tanks.
Application & Exceptions

Provisions of Marpol annex 1 is applicable to all ships unless mentioned otherwise. All tankers related provisions are also applicable to non tankers ships; which carry oil in bulk in a capacity of 200 m3 or more. Similarly where a cargo subjected to annex 2 is carried on a tanker; the provisions of annex 2 applies.

Furthermore provision 18.6 to 18.8 of the annex does not applicable to oil tankers made or built before 1 June 1982. This exception is only given to these ships provided; they operate within their national waters, special areas and designated limits set by different organizations.

Similarly, an exception is given to ships allowing them to discharge oil or oily mixture in the sea under emergency conditions.

These emergency exceptions are applicable in conditions when; there is an imminent danger to the safety of ship and its crew and discharging oil or oily water at sea is necessary to ensure their safety.

Similarly, ships are exempted from any legal action or fine if they can prove the spill occurred due to damage to a ship or its equipment; provided the ship’s crew take appropriate action to contain the spread of oil and its damage to the environment.

2 ) Chapter Two – Surveys & Certification

All ships that is of 400 gross tonnage capacity and above or oil tankers with capacity more than and equal too 150 grt; are subjected to surveys under Marpol annex 1.

  • Initial Surveys: All ships that to be accepted into service undergo an initial Marpol annex 1 survey. Done before the issuance of “International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate”. It include complete survey of the ship including its equipment; systems, structure, fittings and machinery.
  • Renewal Surveys: A renewal survey is done for the ship on or after the period of 5 years; after the issuance of International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate. These renewal surveys should be throw and contains all main aspects such as; structural material, equipment’s, machinery, system and fittings.
  • Annual Survey: An annual survey including general inspection of structure, material, fittings, equipment’s and machinery are  done within 3 months after each year from the day of issuance of certificate. In some circumstances this survey can also be done before 3 months before the next year.
  • Intermediate survey: Intermediate surveys are done on second or third anniversary of certificate date. This survey includes in depth analysis of ship’s equipment, systems, fittings, structure and machinery. This survey allows for three months extension before and after the anniversary date; thus replacing the annual survey for the year.
  • Additional survey: If there is any significant or major repair done on any of the systems, machinery or ship’s structure; which came under Marpol annex 1 need to have an additional survey after the work is finished.
International Oil Prevention Certificate

IOPP or International Oil Prevention Certificate is issued to each new ship after inspecting its systems; fittings, structure, machinery and equipment’s in compliance to the Marpol regulations. Upon the throw survey all tankers above 150 grt and other ships above 400 grt are issued this certificate.

This certificate can be issued or endorsed by the authority itself or an experienced person authorized by it. The certificate drawn must be either in English, french or Spanish language.

Once issued they are valid for a maximum period of five years with the renewal surveys to be finished; well within the three months from the date of expiry.

These certificates can not be issued or renewed for a ship; which has or had changed to a flag state not signatory to Marpol regulations. In case the certificate is issued for less than 5 years; the authorities or authorized surveyor have rights to extend the validity of the certificate up to 5 years from the date of issuance.

Marpol Annex 1 - Machinery Space Requirements

3 ) Chapter Three – Requirements For Machinery Space of Ships

All ships of and above 400 grt must be equipped with a dedicated tank of appropriate size. These tanks much be capable enough to handle all the sludge ( oil residue ) generated during the voyage.

Such tanks that store oil residues that cannot be treated or discharged; as per the Marpol regulations are called sludge tanks.

Typically oil residue in the engine room can be oil or sludge resulting from the lube and fuel oil purifiers. Other than that any oil leakage from the main or auxiliary engine is also considered to be as oil residue.

Other than the standard discharge connections there should be no pipping connected to the sludge tank; that may lead them to overboard discharge.

Under Marpol annex 1 all ships above 400grt but less than 10,000 grt; must be fitted with any form of oil filtering equipment ( Oily water separator ).

A ship can only discharge oily mixture overboard using this filtering device. As per Marpol regulations the processed mixture from such a device; must not be more than 15 ppm of oil before final discharge.

Control of Discharge of Oil Under Marpol Annex 1

Under Marpol regulations any non-processed oil or oily mixture is not allowed to be discharged overboard. Only oily mixture is allowed to be discharged provided they are filtered by oily water separator and follow the 15 ppm limit. For ships above 400 grt such discharge from engine room is permitted provided:

  1. The ship is in route.
  2. Only certified oily water separators are used filter the oily mixture.
  3. The final output from such filter should not contain oil particles more than 15 ppm limit.
  4. The oily mixture treated is only from the engine room bilges and not from anywhere else; including but not limited to cargo holds / tanks.
  5. Ship must be at least 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
  6. There must be no mixing of fuel or lube oil with the oily mixture.

For discharge under special areas any discharge from cargo space; whether in form of oil or oily mixture treated or otherwise is prohibited. On other hand treated oily mixture from machinery space is allowed as long as the ship is in route; and the oily filter follows the minimum 15 ppm limit. But in some special areas such as Antarctica discharge of any kind is prohibited.

The discharging liquid should not contain any chemicals which is detrimental to the marine ecosystem. In case the oily water separator has undergone repairs; no discharge is allowed unless reified by the authorities. In case the oily mixture not be discharged as per the regulation; they must be handed over to the reception facilities.

Discharge of Oil From Cargo Space

Oily mixture from tank holds, pump room and bilges mixed with cargo oil residue on tankers; must be discharged as per the regulation 34 of the Marpol annex 1. For oil tankers above 150 grt such discharge from cargo space and pump room is allowed provided:

  1. The ship is in route.
  2. It should be at least 50 nautical miles away from the closest land.
  3. The ship must not be within any special area.
  4. The ship must have dedicated oil content monitoring system with slop tanks and filtering device.
  5. Under no circumstance the discharge liquid should reach the limit of 30 litters per hour.
  6. The total oil discharged must not be more than 1/30000 of the total quantity.

4 ) Chapter Four – Requirements For The Cargo Area Of The Oil Tanker

There are many structural requirements for the cargo area of an oil tanker; to be in compliance with the Marpol regulations. These structural features includes; double bottom requirements, segregated ballast tanks, intact stability, slop tanks, discharge arrangement, limitation of size, damage assumption and hypothetical oil flow.

  • Segregated Ballast Tanks: All crude oil tankers above 20,000 and product tankers above 30,000 ton dead weight; that is build after 1882 are must to have segregated ballast tanks. These tanks should be of sufficient capacity so as to operate safely under ballast condition; without use of cargo tank space.
  • Double Bottom or Double Hull Design: Under Marpol annex 1 all oil tankers delivered on r after 6 July 1996; must be equipped with double hull structure. It is a hull design where there is two watertight surfaces between the main cargo tank and outside water. The regulation 21 of annex 1 clearly bans any single hull ship from carrying heavy oil.
  • Intact Stability: All oil tankers of 5,000 dead-weight or above that is being delivered on or after February 1, 2002; need to comply with intact stability criteria of the annex. Basically the metacentric height of the ship under 0 heel position should not be less than .15 m in ports; and righting lever must not be less than .20 m at angle of 30 degree heel.
  • Slop Tank: Oil tankers above 500 grt that is delivered after 31st December 1979 must be equipped with dedicated slop tank. Furthermore adequate means be given to effectively clean and transfer the tank oil residue to the slop tank.
  • Damage Assumption: Damage assumption for hypothetical oil flow is done according to the regulation 24 of Marpol annex 1. The officer had to follow the prescribed formulas under the annex to came up with the result.
OWS ( Oily water seperator ) - Marpol annex 1
Oil Discharge Monitoring & Control System

In subject to regulation 3 of the annex all tankers of and above 150grt must be equipped with appropriate oil discharge, control and monitoring system. The system used should be such it kept record of rate of discharge, oil discharged, oil content, date and time. These records then should be kept for the next three years for cross check or verification.

Control systems for such oil discharge and monitoring equipment should be such that; in event of high oil concentration in the liquid the discharge should automatically be stopped. Furthermore in event of any failure to monitor or filter the mixture discharge should automatically be stopped.

In addition to them, every crude oil tanker which has 20,000 dead weight or above; must be equipped with effective crude oil washing system. These crude oil washing systems must then be as per the regulation 18.7 of the annex 1. The systems must be operated as per the prescribed manual; except when the crude oil it is carrying is unstable for the process.

Marpol Annex 1 | Prevention of Pollution From Oil At Sea
Image Credit: NOAA | CC BY 2.0

5 ) Chapter Five – Prevention of Oil Pollution After An Accident

Under regulation 37 under Marpol annex 1 all ships above 400 grt and oil tankers above 150 grt; must have a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan ( SOPEP ) on board ship. These emergency plans need to be approved by the concerned authorities and as per the guidelines of Marpol regulations.

The plan includes steps to be followed and precautions to be taken by each crew on board the ship. Being the in charge of the SOPEP it is the duty of the captain; to monitor and supervise the action plan. An exact SOPEP plan can differ from one ship to another; based on the type of ship and cargo it carry.

Other than action plan for each crew member it includes general arrangement of the ship; methods to contain oil spill, reporting procedure, authorities and ports to contact, Layout of tanks, guidance for report keeping of the spill, emergency fire plan, SOPEP locker and its designated equipment’s.

All tanker ships with a dead-weight of 5000 or above should have access to shore based; computerized damage assessment, monitoring and stability calculation program. It is the duty of the officer in charge to keep detail records of the events and steps taken; to control and reduce the damage due to accident.

SOPEP Equipment’s
  1. Absorbent Pads and Rolls
  2. Wilden pump
  3. Oil booms
  4. Empty drum
  5. Bucket
  6. Saw dust
  7. Scrappers
  8. Gloves
  9. Mask
  10. Oil cleaning chemical

6 ) Chapter Six – Reception Facilities

Reception facilities are vital in better implementation of Marpol regulations. According to the regulation all signatory parties to the convention; must provide provision for repairs, oil loading and discharge of oily mixture at ports. These reception facilities much be adequate in number avoiding undue delays to ship.

In outside special areas reception facilities must be provide in accordance to the regulations; in all ports where crude oil is loaded into tankers having last ballast voyage not more than 72 hours or 1200 nautical miles. Furthermore it should also be available in ports that load more than 1000 tonnes of oil per day to tankers.

Other than that these facilities must also be provide if the port handles consistent amount of ships; which cannot discharge oily mixture as per the required discharge criteria. All reception facilities that take oily water discharged from the ships must be of sufficient capacity in good quantity.

Marpol Annex 1 | Prevention of Pollution From Oil At Sea

7 ) Chapter Seven – Special Requirements For Fixed/Floating Platforms

Regulation 39 of the annex 1 applies to all floating or fixed oceanic platforms including but not limited to; drilling rigs, Oil production facilities, floating platform, Loading and discharging points etc. All such off shore process that involves exploration, exploitation and processing deep sea minerals; either floating or fixed must comply to the rules.

They must keep records of all their operations including their discharges at sea or to some facilities. Such platforms must also be equipped as per the guidelines of regulation 12 and 14 of the annex. These platforms or exploitation / exploration units must have appropriate oily water filter approved by the authorities.

Similar to the oily mixture discharge by the ships’ these platforms must also comply with the 15 ppm discharge limit. The discharge at sea from these fixed or floating platforms; must be in any of the following discharge type: contaminated seawater; machinery space drainage, offshore processing drainage, production water discharge and displacement water discharge.

Role of The Crew Under Marpol Annex 1

When it comes to proper implementation of Marpol annex 1 it is the crew responsibility to follow suit. Marpol regulation requires ship’s crew to be adequate trained to operate equipment and machinery came under the regulations. They handles all the oil transfers and discharges maintaing no oil spill what soever during bunkering operations.

Key annex 1 equipment such as OCM ( Oil Content Monitor ), OWS ( Oily Water Separator ); and ODMCS ( Oil discharge monitoring control system ) is operated and maintained by the crew. They are also trained and instructed of their individual role in case of emergency such as oil spill; and how to contain its spread.

It is the duty of Captain and chief officer to train and familiarize its crew with; oil pollution prevention techniques using drills and training. Every crew must be familiarize with the SOPEP locker and how to use them when needed. Junior crew and officers must also be trained in records keeping for; sludge, bilge wells, transfer of oil and tank cleaning.

It is the duty of the chief engineer and captain to check and ensure all the entries made in various records book; ex: oil record book must be correct and countersigned. Furthermore it is also the captain’s duty to inform the senior officials and local administration about any oil spill if what soever.

Record Keeping : Oil Record Book

Record keeping is an important aspects of Marpol regulations as it helps in proper compliance of the law. Under annex 1 all oil tankers above 150 grt or all ships above 400 grt to carry oil record book. They need to be in two form; one dedicated for the cargo tanks in oil tankers and other for the machinery space.

Each record book contain some basic information such as; the name of the ship, its IMO number, owners details, capacity of the ship in grt, official numbers, some basic instructions and period of use. The part one of the oil record book is mandatory for all ship types and applicable to its machinery space.

On another hand part two of the oil record book is only applicable to the cargo and ballast space of oil tankers. These are to be carried on tankers above 150 grt in addition to the ORB-part 1. These records are to be then preserved for the next 3 years from the date of last entry made on ORB part 1 and 2.

Content’s of Oil Record Book As Per Marpol Annex 1 – Part I

  1. Bunkering operation – Fuel and Lube oil
  2. All activity concerning oily mixtures
  3. Date, quantity, tank name or number, operation type and position of ship.
  4. Ballasting, cleaning and deblasting of fuel tank
  5. Storage or discharge of sludge
  6. Manual discharge of Oily mixture overboard
  7. Automatic Discharge through OWS
  8. Accidental discharge if any
  9. Transfer of bilges
  10. Additional space for Adding Remarks.

Content’s of Oil Record Book As Per Marpol Annex 1- Part II

  1. Internal transfer of oil from one tank to another.
  2. Loading or discharge of crude oil
  3. COW / Cleaning of cargo tanks
  4. Blasting and deblasting of cargo tanks
  5. Discharge of clean or dirty ballasts
  6. Discharged of oily mixture from slop tank
  7. Accidents or accidental oil discharge
  8. Discharge to reception facilities
  9. All major valve operation in the task
  10. Any other disposal ex: residue disposal
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