The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, also known as MARPOL, first took effect on November 2, 1973 at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The MARPOL Convention is implemented on an international level and calls for the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by oil, chemicals, and other harmful substances from ships, either as a result of operational or accidental causes. In order for the convention to take effect, it needed to be ratified by at least 15 countries with a combined merchant fleet comprising at least 50 percent of world shipping.
Under the 1973 Convention, countries were only obliged to comply with the prevention of oil and chemicals pollution; the regulation of other harmful goods was optional. However, by 1976 only Jordan, Kenya, and Tunisia had ratified the convention and another convention was held in February of 1978. In addition to pollution prevention, the second conference addressed tanker safety issues. More importantly, the 1978 MARPOL required joining members to comply first with the prevention of oil pollution; the prevention of chemicals would not become binding until three years later. MARPOL entered into full force on October 2, 1983.
- International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 (International Maritime Organization)