Technical Circular No: 039/2019

Subject: Discharge Standard for Marine Pollutants from Ships

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  1. The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main International Convention for addressing ship sourced pollution. It regulates the discharge criteria for the elimination of pollution by oil and other harmful substances including noxious liquid substances, sewage, garbage and air pollution from ships.
  1. However, some Flag States and ports have implemented local regulations with stricter requirements that restricts or completely prohibit the discharge of marine pollutants while the ship operates in their coastal / inland waters. Few examples includes;
  • China has implemented regulation with stricter requirements towards discharge of sewage in inland waters and within 3 nautical miles from the nearest land. Similarly United States has also designated specific waters as "no discharge zones" or NDZs. Sewage discharges are prohibited in these areas.
  • China has designated Domestic Emission Control Areas (DECA) requiring ships operating within the territorial waters of China to use low sulphur fuel (sulphur content of the fuel <= 0.5% m/m).
  • California’s Air Resource Board (ARB) has enforced a 0.1% sulphur limit requirements for ships while operating within 24 nautical miles (nm) of the California coastline.
  • Hong Kong has implemented regulation requiring ships to use low-sulphur marine fuel with sulphur content not exceeding 0.5 per cent or liquefied natural gas within the waters of Hong Kong.
  • Several coastal States including Belgium, Ireland, Singapore and China have also implemented local regulations that restrict or completely prohibit the discharge of wash water from open loop scrubbers or prohibit the use of scrubbers. 
  1. In view of above, Owners, operators and masters are advised to contact the local agents prior arrival ports for details of applicable requirements and take appropriate measures to ensure compliance of relevant local requirements.




This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.

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