With an estimated 2 million tons of oil

With
an ever increasing demand for resources across borders, ships and vessels alike,
have come as a means to cater the need for transportation. Shipping is one of
the most important influencers of international trade and commerce.1 One
of the most shipped resources between countries is Oil. With a large room for
developments and efficiency, the ships, sometimes, while transporting these
huge amounts of oil across oceans are unable to manage the volume of the same.
Such a discharge can also be unintentional in cases of collisions and accidents
between the vessels or ships. This is what leads the most hazardous form of
pollution, i.e, Marine Pollution by ships. One of the most dangerous oil spills
that have occurred on the planet is Exxon Valdez. An additional source of
vessel pollution comes from operational discharges on the high seas.2 Shipping
has been a major cause of degradation to the marine environment due to
operational and accidental discharge of oil which accounted for an estimated 2
million tons of oil entering the world’s oceans in the 1980s.3

Of
the oil released by vessels, seventy-five percent is reported to have come from
operational discharges and twenty-five percent from accidental spills.4 It is
only in the past half century that the amount of harm being caused to the
marine environment due to one of the most used means of transportation i.e
ships, has come to recognition and also to being sought a remedy for.

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MARPOL:
International Convention for the prevention of pollution from ships is a result
of the above. Formed in the year 1973, implemented in the year 1978 and known
as MARPOL 73/78, this international convention is ratified by most countries
involved in shipping. Though there are other ways of pollution being caused to
the marine environment like surface caused pollution i.e discharge of sewage in
the water bodies, Oil Spills continue to govern the most proportions of
pollution source. Plastic is a big source of pollution to the environment both
in the sea and on the land. The convention has six annexures attached to it.
The First Annexure deals with prevention of pollution from oil. The second
annexure refers to prevention of pollution from noxious substances. The third
annexure refers to prevention of pollution caused by harmful substances carried
by sea in packaged form, while the fourth, fifth and sixth annexures to the
convention provide technicalities related to prevention of pollution from
sewage, garbage and ships in the form of air, respectively.

The
most important aspect of MARPOL 73/78 relates to the efficiency of the remedies
and regulations that it provides. This is for the fact that being an
international convention, it addresses a universal problem of Marine Pollution
which if not dealt at the right time may prove to be catastrophic.

Being
focused on the ambit of Oil Pollution caused by Ships, the research paper
attempts to identify the efficiency of remedies provided thereunder.

MARPOL
73/78 is not only a convention to reduce marine pollution but also a regulation
on the commercial affairs of the countries ensuring means that cause least pollution.
It is the unique nature of ship to being subject to various jurisdictions that
requires a clarity on the subject of jurisdiction with respect to applicability
of MARPOL 73/78.5

1
Mark Szepes, MARPOL 73/78: The Challenges of Regulating Vessel-Source Oil
Pollution, 2 Manchester Rev. L. Crime & Ethics 73  (2013)

2
MARPOL 73/78 and Vessel Pollution: A Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

3
Mark Szepes, MARPOL 73/78: The Challenges of Regulating Vessel-Source Oil
Pollution, 2 Manchester Rev. L. Crime & Ethics 73  (2013)

4
Bill Shaw et al., The Global Environment: A Proposal to Eliminate Marine Oil
Pollution, 27 Nat. Resources J. 157, 157 (1987) cited from MARPOL 73/78 and Vessel
Pollution: A Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

5
Mark Szepes, MARPOL 73/78: The Challenges of Regulating Vessel-Source Oil
Pollution, 2 Manchester Rev. L. Crime & Ethics 73  (2013