This resource page collates material in respect of International environmental compliance issues affecting our Members.

Information from the Club, Loss Prevention and external resources has been collated in one place for ease of reference.

General information is contained in this introductory section, but for specific environmental legislation information click one of the topic images below:


Ballast Water Developments:  Coast Guard Updates Ballast Water Management Frequently Asked Questions, Volume I

The US Coast Guard has updated its Ballast Water Management Frequently Asked Questions, Volume I. The updated version clarifies a number of questions, addressing topics such as the implementation schedule, the definition of Exclusive Economic Zone, the applicability of ballast water management requirements to unmanned barges, and approval of ballast water management systems and alternative management systems. The updated version also includes a number of new questions addressing ballast water exchange, operation exclusively in one Captain of the Port zone, installation of ballast water management systems, use of water from a U.S. public water system, and sediment disposal.

Articles & Publications

Date: 30/08/2018
We have been seeing an increase in cases where vessels calling at California ports are issued deficiencies by inspectors from the State Lands Commission.
Date: 22/02/2017
A reminder that the USCG will not hesitate to impose penalties for non-compliance with the USCG’s Final Rule, Standards for Living Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water Discharged in U.S.Waters issued on 23 March 2012. 
Date: 05/01/2017
On 23 December, 2016, the US Coast Guard Marine Safety Center issued the second U.S. Coast Guard Ballast Water Management System Type Approval Certificate.
Date: 18/10/2016
On 4th October, 2016, the US Coast Guard issued a notice on its Coast Guard Maritime Commons Blog in which it provided a recap of a presentation delivered by Lt. Cmdr. Jason Kling, of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Center, at the 2016 BWMTech Conference in Miami 26th-28th September.
Date: 15/09/2016
The US Coast Guard have issued a bulletin regarding the recent ratification of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention).
Date: 09/09/2016
The IMO has announced that the Convention will enter into force on 8th September 2017 after Finland’s ratification of the treaty brings the combined tonnage of contracting States to 35.1441%
Date: 23/08/2016
The latest USCG's Marine Safety Information Bulletin OES-MSIB No. 010/16 dated 13th July 2016  is available <a...
Date: 07/07/2016
Some US states have introduced additional state specific ballast water management requirements for vessels calling at ports in those states. The Club has summarised the main additional requirements for some of these states for our Members’ reference and guidance. 
Date: 09/03/2016
On 7 March 2016, Belgium became the 48th country to ratify the Ballast Water Management Convention.  The accession of Belgium brings the aggregate percentage of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage to 34.82.
Date: 05/01/2016
IMO BWMC 2004 entering into force shortly.IMO G8 Guidelines under review to make approval standards for BWMS more robust. The environmental impact of active substances used in BWMS is being assessed for...

Loss Prevention

Ballast Water Management

A safer and more effective management of ballast water 

On 13th February 2004, the IMO adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments. 

The purpose of the Convention is to develop a safer and more effective management of ballast water that would eliminate the risk of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens spreading from one part of the world to another causing harm to the environment, human health and property. 

The Convention aims to achieve this objective by instituting a series of regulations to manage the transfer and the discharge of ships’ ballast water.

The main obligation of the Convention is for parties to undertake certain actions in order to prevent, minimize and ultimately eliminate the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens through the control and management of the ships’ ballast water and sediments.


Date: 19/11/2008
OutlineAs a result of a recent US Court of Appeal decision, the EPA is now required to regulate discharges incidental to the normal operations of vessels. Vessels must comply with the Vessel General Permit (VGP) requirements from 19th December 2008. Vessels must file an Notice of Intent (NOI), between 19th June 2009 to 19th September 2009, to obtain authorisation to discharge under the VGP.

Useful Links

In 1997 the MARPOL Convention was amended by the “1997 Protocol”. The amendment includes Annex VI  “Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships which sets limits on NOx and SOx emissions from ship exhausts, and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances.

Emission Control Areas

Two sets of emission and fuel quality requirements are defined by Annex VI: (1) global requirements, and (2) more stringent requirements applicable to ships in Emission Control Areas (ECA). An Emission Control Area can be designated for SOx and PM, or NOx, or all three types of emissions from ships, subject to a proposal from a Party to Annex VI.

Existing Emission Control Areas include:

  • Baltic Sea (SOx, adopted: 1997 / entered into force: 2005)
  • North Sea (SOx, 2005/2006)
  • North American ECA, including most of US and Canadian coast (NOx & SOx, 2010/2012).
  • US Caribbean ECA, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (NOx & SOx, 2011/2014).

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

2011 Amendments to MARPOL Annex VI introduced mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). The Amendments added a new Chapter 4 to Annex VI on “Regulations on energy efficiency for ships”.

NOx Emission Standards

NOx emission limits are set for diesel engines depending on the engine maximum operating speed (n, rpm), Tier I and Tier II limits are global, while the Tier III standards apply only in NOx Emission Control Areas.


This section covers marine pollution regulations. Areas covered include:

  • Australian Maritime Pollution Risks
  • Chinese Oil pollution - the Club has a dedicated page for China here
  • EU Pollution regulations
  • US Pollution Risks

Loss Prevention


Articles & Publications


IMO: ​The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.

Holman Fenwick Willan: Ship Pollution Response Organisations - Understanding the new PRC regulations

Department of Energy & Climate change: The Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998. Every offshore installation and oil-handling facility must have an approved oil pollution emergency plan (OPEP) setting out arrangements for responding to incidents that cause or may cause marine pollution by oil, with a view to preventing such pollution or reducing or minimising its effect.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority: Marine environment protection resources and Legislation and Prevention measures.

International Maritime Organisation

The IMO website contains information on the Ballast Water Management convention, BWM guidelines and the full text of the convention is available from the IMO.

Loss Prevention

UK Chamber of Shipping

UK Chamber of Shipping  is campaigning against the way new sulphur laws are being implemented. They have released a video this week on the issue. The link will take you to the UK Chamber of Shipping's website:

Policy & convention information

International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

The best starting point in the IMO website is the Marine Environment section. Click on the blue button labelled “Marine Environment” and a dedicated menu item on ‘Air pollution’ appears in a right hand menu. Click on that item to view an extensive overview of MARPOL Annex VI and related items such as the full text of the convention and explanation of the work of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).

California Air Resources Board

This organisation has published a series of marine notices regarding the implementation of air emissions regulations. These notices include the requirements for ships to maintain records on fuel use within the regulated area.

European Union

In November 2002, the European Commission adopted a European Union strategy to reduce atmospheric emissions from seagoing ships. A dedicated area on the Commission website provides information on the status and development of its directives on air pollution from ships.

This section includes as special Q& A sheet relating to the Directive 1999/32/EC in regard to use of low sulphur fuels at berth.

Anti-fouling paints are used to coat the bottoms of ships to prevent sealife such as algae and molluscs attaching themselves to the hull – thereby slowing down the ship and increasing fuel consumption.

Before the development of modern antifouling paints, lime and later arsenic were used to coat ships' hulls, today the antifouling paint contains metallic compounds. The compounds used slowly "leach" into the sea water, killing barnacles and other marine life that have attached to the ship.

Studies have shown that the compounds remain in the water, killing sealife, harming the environment and possibly entering the food chain. One of the most effective anti-fouling paints, developed in the 1960s, contains the organotin tributylin (TBT), which has been proven to cause deformations in oysters and sex changes in whelks.

On the 5th October 2001, The International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships, was adopted which prohibits the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships and will establish a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems

Under the terms of the Convention, Parties to the Convention are required to prohibit and/or restrict the use of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships flying their flag, as well as ships not entitled to fly their flag but which operate under their authority and all ships that enter a port, shipyard or offshore terminal of a Party.



UK Government website - convention text

United States Coast Guard

Australian Govenment

Emergency Contacts

If you need to call our offices out of hours and at weekends, click After Office hours for a up to date list of the names of the Duty Executives and their mobile phone numbers. 

Ship Finder

This Ship Finder is updated on a daily basis. Members who need to advise the Club of updates to their recorded ships' details should advise their usual underwriting contact.

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