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Environmental Protection & the Oceans: Regulating Intentional Oil Pollution. “It was in many ways in the field of marine pollution that the international environmental negotiating community learnt its craft” (Tony Brenton, 1993:91).

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environmental protection the oceans regulating intentional oil pollution
Environmental Protection & the Oceans: Regulating Intentional Oil Pollution

“It was in many ways in the field of marine pollution that the international environmental negotiating community learnt its craft” (Tony Brenton, 1993:91)

environmental protection the oceans regulating intentional oil pollution2
Environmental Protection & the Oceans: Regulating Intentional Oil Pollution
  • Intentional discharge of oil is the primary source of oil pollution: 1 million tons annually (60-70% of all oil from ships, including from spills)
  • Three major sources of intentional oil pollution:

* Oil tankers fill their cargo holds with seawater to serve as ballast on return journeys, later pumping this back out to sea

* Cleaning tanks with water before receiving more oil

* Oil and lubricants leak and mix with ship bilges

why regulating shipping activities is difficult
Why Regulating ShippingActivities is Difficult
  • Thousands of ships and port visits around the world each year
  • Most ships are foreign owned
  • Most ships registered in foreign countries different than that of owners: “Flag States” (e.g., Bahamas, Cyprus)
  • Ships operated by other companies usually based in other countries
  • Crews often from LDC’s: poorly paid with limited training
  • Officers often of different nationalities from crew
  • Margins are tight as merchant ships are in oversupply
  • Maritime “culture” dislikes regulation: the law of the sea is not the same as the law of the land
early history of action 1920 wwii
Early History of Action(1920 - WWII)
  • 1920s: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK) and National Coast Anti-pollution League (US) lobbied respective governments in response to oiled birds and beaches
  • 1922: UK responds by banning intentional discharges within 3 miles of shore (territorial limit)
  • 1924: US does the same
  • 1926: US convenes first international conference to eliminate intentional discharges: attended by 13 nations
  • Much debate over the persistence of oil in the ocean
  • Compromise agreement to restrict discharges to outside 50 miles from coast
  • Agreement never signed
  • Limited voluntary compliance by industry (where cost-effective)
early history of action 1920 wwii5
Early History of Action(1920 - WWII)
  • 1920s: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (UK) and National Coast Anti-pollution League (US) lobbied respective governments in response to oiled birds and beaches
  • 1922: UK responds by banning intentional discharges within 3 miles of shore (territorial limit)
  • 1924: US does the same
  • 1926: US convenes first international conference to eliminate intentional discharges: attended by 13 nations…

- Much debate over the persistence of oil in the ocean

- Compromise agreement to restrict discharges to outside 50 miles from coast

- Agreement never signed

- Limited voluntary compliance by industry (where cost-effective)

early history of action 1920 wwii6
Early History of Action(1920 - WWII)

1935: Draft Convention:

  • Expanded restricted zone from 50 - 150 miles
  • Discussions over requiring on new ships expensive oily water separators (to be discharged in port receptor facilities) overturned by nations with strong shipping interests, including US and UK. i.e., UK/US took leadership role to placate domestic environ. lobbies, but not willing to impose costly regulations
  • States required to impose fines on violators
  • Ship masters required to record in log book incidences involving oil discharges
  • Convention never signed: opposition from Italy, Japan, and Germany and related looming conflict...
early history of action 1920 wwii7
Early History of Action(1920 - WWII)
  • 1936: Oil tanker accidents in US raise concern and prompt passage of Tank Vessel Act = “stricter operational and construction standards for American tankers”, and required US/UK ship owners to expand voluntary compliance to 1926 regulations to 100 miles offshore
  • These led to noticeable decrease in oil pollution along US coasts with subsequent declining concern by US
post war progress
Post-War Progress

Vastly increased international shipping, especially oil tankers, led to dramatic rise in marine pollution

1954: UK-led International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of Sea by Oil

  • Meeting in London: 32 countries attended
  • UK proposed regulating discharges throughout ocean
  • UK recommends “slop tanks” & reception facilities
  • Industries opposed slop tanks and governments opposed reception facilities because of costs
  • Few countries felt problem serious enough to warrant strong regulations
  • Convention resembled pre-War agreements, but with slightly more stringent requirements for releases within zones (lowered max. from 500 to 100ppm)
  • Convention was first one officially signed, but problem of enforcement remained and so agreement was largely ineffective
post war progress cont d
Post-War Progress, cont`d.

1958: Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) founded by UN. General mandate to address all aspects of international shipping regulation. Assumed responsibility for marine oil pollution issues.

1962: IMCO sponsored Conference: 38 states attending

  • Expanded restricted zone to 100 miles in many areas, including whole of Baltic and North Seas
  • New tankers (>20,000 tons) banned from discharging anywhere in the ocean
  • Problem of compliance persists
  • Increasing R&D into alternative technologies for reducing oil discharges. e.g., Load on Top (LOT) method inexpensive and widely adopted by industry

1967: Torrey Canyon spill in English Channel plus general increase in environmental awareness led to greater public pressure

1969 Convention Amendments: Established total discharge limits for all oceans--first time that total discharges were reduced, not just redistributed

post war progress cont d10
Post-War Progress, cont`d.

1958: Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) founded by UN. General mandate to address all aspects of international shipping regulation. Assumed responsibility for marine oil pollution issues.

1962: IMCO sponsored Conference: 38 states attending

  • Expanded restricted zone to 100 miles in many areas, including whole of Baltic and North Seas
  • New tankers (>20,000 tons) banned from discharging anywhere in the ocean
  • Problem of compliance persists
  • Increasing R&D into alternative technologies for reducing oil discharges. e.g., Load on Top (LOT) method inexpensive and widely adopted by industry

1967: Torrey Canyon spill in English Channel plus general increase in environmental awareness led to greater public pressure

1969 Convention Amendments: Established total discharge limits for all oceans--first time that total discharges were reduced, not just redistributed

post war progress cont d11
Post-War Progress, cont`d.

1958: Inter-governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) founded by UN. General mandate to address all aspects of international shipping regulation. Assumed responsibility for marine oil pollution issues.

1962: IMCO sponsored Conference: 38 states attending

  • Expanded restricted zone to 100 miles in many areas, including whole of Baltic and North Seas
  • New tankers (>20,000 tons) banned from discharging anywhere in the ocean
  • Problem of compliance persists
  • Increasing R&D into alternative technologies for reducing oil discharges. e.g., Load on Top (LOT) method inexpensive and widely adopted by industry

1967: Torrey Canyon spill in English Channel plus general increase in environmental awareness led to greater public pressure

1969 Convention Amendments: Established total discharge limits for all oceans--first time that total discharges were reduced, not just redistributed

post war progress cont d12
Post-War Progress, cont`d.

1972: Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment

1972: Strong domestic pressure in US leads to US Ports and Waterways Safety Act, which unilaterally threatened to deny ships entry to US ports if they failed to comply to a whole sweep of new technology standards

1973: International Conference on Marine Pollution and International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)

  • Addressed oil discharge within a broader framework of marine pollution (garbage, sewage, chemicals)
  • Tightened regulations for 1969 Amendments
  • Required new technologies for all ships built after 1979: Oily water separators using SBT: Segregated Ballast Tanks and monitoring devices.
  • Increased inspection rights of states for ships entering their ports
  • Provided funds for training of LDC Merchant Marine and for reception facilities
post war progress cont d13
Post-War Progress, cont`d.

1972: Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment

1972: Strong domestic pressure in US leads to US Ports and Waterways Safety Act, which unilaterally threatened to deny ships entry to US ports if they failed to comply to a whole sweep of new technology standards

1973: International Conference on Marine Pollution and International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)

  • Addressed oil discharge within a broader framework of marine pollution (garbage, sewage, chemicals)
  • Tightened regulations for 1969 Amendments
  • Required new technologies for all ships built after 1979: Oily water separators using SBT: Segregated Ballast Tanks and monitoring devices.
  • Increased inspection rights of states for ships entering their ports
  • Provided funds for training of LDC Merchant Marine and for reception facilities
post war progress cont d14
Post-War Progress, cont`d.

1976/7: Series of oil spills plus pro-environment US President (Carter): threats of unilateral action if MARPOL not strengthened quickly

1978: Protocol to MARPOL

  • Industry responded to pressures by proposing Crude Oil Washing (COW) on all tankers
  • All new crude oil tankers over 20,000 tons to install COW and SBT; while requiring existing tankers over 40,000 tons to install either COW or SBT (the former is cheaper so typically used)

1980s -1990s: With regulations in place, effort shifted more towards improving monitoring and compliance.

  • e.g., EU Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control; increased inspections in US, Canada and Japan

1989: Exxon Valdez spill, Alaska, prompts US 1990 Oil Pollution Act requiring double hulls on tankers by 2015

2003: Spill of coast of Spain: Has prompted efforts to strengthen EU policy with intent to eliminate older tankers from EU waters

post war progress cont d15
Post-War Progress, cont`d.

1976/7: Series of oil spills plus pro-environment US President (Carter): threats of unilateral action if MARPOL not strengthened quickly

1978: Protocol to MARPOL

  • Industry responded to pressures by proposing Crude Oil Washing (COW) on all tankers
  • All new crude oil tankers over 20,000 tons to install COW and SBT; while requiring existing tankers over 40,000 tons to install either COW or SBT (the former is cheaper so typically used)

1980s -1990s: With regulations in place, effort shifted more towards improving monitoring and compliance.

  • e.g., EU Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control; increased inspections in US, Canada and Japan

1989: Exxon Valdez spill, Alaska, prompts US 1990 Oil Pollution Act requiring double hulls on tankers by 2015

2003: Spill of coast of Spain: Has prompted efforts to strengthen EU policy with intent to eliminate older tankers from EU waters

post war progress cont d16
Post-War Progress, cont`d.

1976/7: Series of oil spills plus pro-environment US President (Carter): threats of unilateral action if MARPOL not strengthened quickly

1978: Protocol to MARPOL

  • Industry responded to pressures by proposing Crude Oil Washing (COW) on all tankers
  • All new crude oil tankers over 20,000 tons to install COW and SBT; while requiring existing tankers over 40,000 tons to install either COW or SBT (the former is cheaper so typically used)

1980s -1990s: With regulations in place, effort shifted more towards improving monitoring and compliance.

  • e.g., EU Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control; increased inspections in US, Canada and Japan

1989: Exxon Valdez spill, Alaska, prompts US 1990 Oil Pollution Act requiring double hulls on tankers by 2015

2003: Spill of coast of Spain: Has prompted efforts to strengthen EU policy with intent to eliminate older tankers from EU waters

post war progress cont d17
Post-War Progress, cont`d.

1976/7: Series of oil spills plus pro-environment US President (Carter): threats of unilateral action if MARPOL not strengthened quickly

1978: Protocol to MARPOL

  • Industry responded to pressures by proposing Crude Oil Washing (COW) on all tankers
  • All new crude oil tankers over 20,000 tons to install COW and SBT; while requiring existing tankers over 40,000 tons to install either COW or SBT (the former is cheaper so typically used)

1980s -1990s: With regulations in place, effort shifted more towards improving monitoring and compliance.

  • e.g., EU Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control; increased inspections in US, Canada and Japan

1989: Exxon Valdez spill, Alaska, prompts US 1990 Oil Pollution Act requiring double hulls on tankers by 2015

2003: Spill of coast of Spain: Has prompted efforts to strengthen EU policy with intent to eliminate older tankers from EU waters

canada and intentional oil pollution
Canada and Intentional Oil Pollution
  • Major Shipping lanes along SE coast of Newfoundland (to St. Lawrence) and east coast off Nova Scotia
  • Most Obvious Impact: est. 300,000 seabirds die each year from oil exposure (murres, puffins, sea ducks, gulls)
  • Minimal exposure (spot the size of a quarter) will slowly kill a bird by destroying insulation and enabling freezing water to contact skin directly.
canada and intentional oil pollution19
Canada and Intentional Oil Pollution

Key Government Players & Responsibilities:

  • Environment Canada: Pollution (CEPA, Fisheries Act, Migratory Birds Convention Act)
  • Transport Can.: marine poll’n, safety (Shipping Act)
  • Coast Guard (DFO): surveillance, search & rescue
  • National Defense: security, search & rescue
  • Justice: prosecutions
  • Foreign Affairs: international law
  • Industry Canada/Canada Space Agency: commerce and surveillance
canada cont d
Canada, cont’d.

Enforcement & Prosecutions:

  • Surveillance by airplane or satellite (all weather)
  • Oil analysis: chemical fingerprinting comparing marine spill with on-ship bilge waters
  • Wind drift back-cast modeling (Meteorological Service)
  • Formal charges under one of Statutes (CEPA, FA, CSA, MBCA)
  • 2005: Bill C-15: Act to Amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Canadian Environmental Protection Act: Puts teeth in government’s ability to prosecute infractions
canada cont d23
Canada, cont’d.

Enforcement & Prosecutions:

  • Surveillance by airplane or satellite (all weather)
  • Oil analysis: chemical fingerprinting comparing marine spill with on-ship bilge waters
  • Wind drift back-cast modeling (Meteorological Service)
  • Formal charges under one of Statutes (CEPA, FA, CSA, MBCA)
  • 2005: Bill C-15: Act to Amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Canadian Environmental Protection Act: Puts teeth in government’s ability to prosecute infractions
canada cont d24
Canada, cont’d.

Enforcement & Prosecutions:

  • Surveillance by airplane or satellite (all weather)
  • Oil analysis: chemical fingerprinting comparing marine spill with on-ship bilge waters
  • Wind drift back-cast modeling (Meteorological Service)
  • Formal charges under one of Statutes (CEPA, FA, CSA, MBCA)
  • 2005: Bill C-15: Act to Amend the Migratory Birds Convention Act and Canadian Environmental Protection Act: Puts teeth in government’s ability to prosecute infractions
summary lessons learned
Summary: Lessons Learned
  • Experience showed a history of low compliance on discharge standards, but high compliance on equipment and construction standards because the latter are easier to enforce and also produce a “level-playing field” for industry. Newer ships are far less polluting and so can expect continued improvements.
  • Unilateral action to spur international action was critical: US/UK in early years and US in later years (1970s)
  • Industry influential, both in stalling early progress and later developing cost-effective alternatives; motivated by desire to head-off more rigorous regulations
  • Continued problem of inadequate reception facilities, especially in LDCs
  • Influence of environmental disasters: oil tanker accidents have often triggered action, even though accidents and intentional releases are largely un-related issues
  • Minor role of science (in contrast to Ozone, Whaling, Climate change, etc.). In fact, there still is little consensus over just how serious a threat intentional oil releases are to the environment
summary lessons learned26
Summary: Lessons Learned
  • Experience showed a history of low compliance on discharge standards, but high compliance on equipment and construction standards because the latter are easier to enforce and also produce a “level-playing field” for industry. Newer ships are far less polluting and so can expect continued improvements.
  • Unilateral action to spur international action was critical: US/UK in early years and US in later years (1970s)
  • Industry influential, both in stalling early progress and later developing cost-effective alternatives; motivated by desire to head-off more rigorous regulations
  • Continued problem of inadequate reception facilities, especially in LDCs
  • Influence of environmental disasters: oil tanker accidents have often triggered action, even though accidents and intentional releases are largely un-related issues
  • Minor role of science (in contrast to Ozone, Whaling, Climate change, etc.). In fact, there still is little consensus over just how serious a threat intentional oil releases are to the environment
summary lessons learned27
Summary: Lessons Learned
  • Experience showed a history of low compliance on discharge standards, but high compliance on equipment and construction standards because the latter are easier to enforce and also produce a “level-playing field” for industry. Newer ships are far less polluting and so can expect continued improvements.
  • Unilateral action to spur international action was critical: US/UK in early years and US in later years (1970s)
  • Industry influential, both in stalling early progress and later developing cost-effective alternatives; motivated by desire to head-off more rigorous regulations
  • Continued problem of inadequate reception facilities, especially in LDCs
  • Influence of environmental disasters: oil tanker accidents have often triggered action, even though accidents and intentional releases are largely un-related issues
  • Minor role of science (in contrast to Ozone, Whaling, Climate change, etc.). In fact, there still is little consensus over just how serious a threat intentional oil releases are to the environment
summary lessons learned28
Summary: Lessons Learned
  • Experience showed a history of low compliance on discharge standards, but high compliance on equipment and construction standards because the latter are easier to enforce and also produce a “level-playing field” for industry. Newer ships are far less polluting and so can expect continued improvements.
  • Unilateral action to spur international action was critical: US/UK in early years and US in later years (1970s)
  • Industry influential, both in stalling early progress and later developing cost-effective alternatives; motivated by desire to head-off more rigorous regulations
  • Continued problem of inadequate reception facilities, especially in LDCs
  • Influence of environmental disasters: oil tanker accidents have often triggered action, even though accidents and intentional releases are largely un-related issues
  • Minor role of science (in contrast to Ozone, Whaling, Climate change, etc.). In fact, there still is little consensus over just how serious a threat intentional oil releases are to the environment
summary lessons learned29
Summary: Lessons Learned
  • Experience showed a history of low compliance on discharge standards, but high compliance on equipment and construction standards because the latter are easier to enforce and also produce a “level-playing field” for industry. Newer ships are far less polluting and so can expect continued improvements.
  • Unilateral action to spur international action was critical: US/UK in early years and US in later years (1970s)
  • Industry influential, both in stalling early progress and later developing cost-effective alternatives; motivated by desire to head-off more rigorous regulations
  • Continued problem of inadequate reception facilities, especially in LDCs
  • Influence of environmental disasters: oil tanker accidents have often triggered action, even though accidents and intentional releases are largely un-related issues
  • Minor role of science (in contrast to Ozone, Whaling, Climate change, etc.). In fact, there still is little consensus over just how serious a threat intentional oil releases are to the environment
summary lessons learned30
Summary: Lessons Learned
  • Experience showed a history of low compliance on discharge standards, but high compliance on equipment and construction standards because the latter are easier to enforce and also produce a “level-playing field” for industry. Newer ships are far less polluting and so can expect continued improvements.
  • Unilateral action to spur international action was critical: US/UK in early years and US in later years (1970s)
  • Industry influential, both in stalling early progress and later developing cost-effective alternatives; motivated by desire to head-off more rigorous regulations
  • Continued problem of inadequate reception facilities, especially in LDCs
  • Influence of environmental disasters: oil tanker accidents have often triggered action, even though accidents and intentional releases are largely un-related issues
  • Minor role of science (in contrast to Ozone, Whaling, Climate change, etc.). In fact, there still is little consensus over just how serious a threat intentional oil releases are to the environment