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Table of contents


A. Familiarisation with the SMS and MARPOL 73/78
The Master, his/her officers and all shipboard personnel likely to be involved in essential shipboard operations relating to the prevention of pollution by oil should acquaint themselves not only with the operations laid down in the Company’s SMS but also with the provisions of MARPOL 73/78 and its latest amendments.

Any deviation from international and national rules for the prevention of pollution is considered a criminal offence in most jurisdictions and has far reaching personal consequences for the Master, officer or engineer concerned.

B. Special areas
When entering Particular Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA) the Master and his/her officers are advised to carefully comply with the special regulations in force, such as

  • the absolute prohibition of discharge of oil, oily substances or ship’s grey water, the latter permitted only by strict compliance with special requirements, and
  • the proper notification to the competent authorities before entering PSSAs.

    Any contravention of these regulations not only constitutes a criminal offence, but may have serious financial consequences for the Company and sometimes the P&I insurer.

    C. Accuracy of records
    The Master and his/her officers are advised to keep proper and accurate records in the Oil Record Book and Garbage Record Book. The slightest irregularity in these records may lead an authority to not only carry out a more detailed inspection but to also impose a fine on the person responsible as well as the Master. Irregularities in these record books may, in some countries, constitute a criminal offence and could even lead to imprisonment.

    D. Port State control inspection
    Under MARPOL, port State control officers may at any time carry out an inspection when there are clear grounds for believing that the Master or crew are not familiar with their obligations under MARPOL. Such inspections may result in the vessel being detained without notice until steps have been taken to rectify the situation.

    E. Co-operation with authorities – no voluntary admission of liability
    If pollution has occurred, the Master and/or engineers should co-operate with the authorities to limit any consequences thereof. Before any admission of liability is made by the ship’s personnel, the P&I insurer and the correspondent, or the lawyers representing the Company should be consulted.

    If the Master, however, feels his/her vessel is wrongly accused or any response action taken by the authorities is incorrect, he/she may make a note of protest, but should seek advice from the P&I insurer and the correspondent or the lawyers representing the Company before doing so.

    F. Pollution not caused by the own vessel
    If the Master or any of his/her crew discover pollution of air or water not caused by the own vessel, the Master is advised to gather as much evidence as possible of the pollution and its suspected source. The Master should in any case request assistance from the correspondent to prevent a fine being imposed against the own vessel.

    In the event of pollution please see section 3.12 Pollution.