493 - 10/06 - Southern South Africa waters designated as Special Area - Africa

Amendments to MARPOL designating the waters off Southern South Africa as a Special Area under the MARPOL Convention for the prevention of pollution by ships, have been adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

In an Annex I Special Area, any discharge into the sea of oil or oily mixtures from ships of 400 gross tonnage and above is prohibited except when certain conditions apply.

The MEPC also agreed a Circular which requests Member Governments and industry groups to comply with the Special Area requirements immediately on a voluntary basis and, in particular, requests them to urge oil tankers to refrain from washing their cargo tanks in the new Special Area, pending the entry into force of the amendment, which will take effect from March 2008.

Other Special Areas designated under MARPOL Annex I are: the Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, "Gulfs" Area, Gulf of Aden, Antarctic, North West European Waters and the Oman area of the Arabian Sea.

The designation of the Southern South Africa waters as a Special Area under Annex I will provide measures to protect wildlife and the marine environment in an ecologically important region used intensively by shipping.

Source of information:

International Maritime Organization

www.imo.org

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Thomas Miller

Date24/03/2009

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