Australia is a party to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships. The Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 and the Navigation Act 2012 implement into domestic law Australia's obligations under the MARPOL Convention, which sets out the legislative obligations relating to the prevention of accidental and operational marine environment pollution from shipping. The Protection of the Sea (Harmful Anti-fouling Systems) Act 2006 implements Australia's obligations under the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships.
The Department is responsible for the administration of the Protection of the Sea legislation. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) administers the Protection of the Sea legislation and is responsible for ensuring industry's compliance with it.
December 2022 Amendments:
In December 2022, amendments were made to the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 and the Protection of the Sea (Anti-fouling Systems) Act 2006 via the Maritime Legislation Amendment Act 2022.
The amendments reflect new controls on ships made by the International Maritime Organization under MARPOL and the HAFS Convention. As a signatory, Australia is obligated under International Law to implement these changes.
The amendments implemented the following changes:
- introduce controls for discharges of residues of noxious liquid substances known as ‘persistent floaters’ (substances that can form surface slicks on water) in northern European waters that came into effect on 1 January 2021,
- ban the use of heavy fuel oil by ships in Arctic waters from 1 July 2024 (a similar ban is already in place in the Antarctic), and
- extend controls on ship harmful anti-fouling systems to include the chemical biocide, cybutryne, from 1 January 2023.