US ratifies Annex VI

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The US has become the 53rd state to ratify Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), with the deposition today of an instrument of ratification with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Annex VI, which was adopted in 1997 and entered into force in May 2005, regulates the discharge of atmospheric pollutants from ships. Among other things, it set, for the first time, limits on sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from ships’ exhausts; prohibited deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances and put a global cap on the sulphur content of fuel oil.

This latest ratification, which brings to 81.88 the percentage of gross world merchant shipping tonnage covered by the aforementioned regulations, comes as a detailed review of the provisions of Annex VI is reaching a conclusion.

Today, MARPOL has six separate annexes, which set out regulations dealing with pollution from ships by oil; by noxious liquid substances carried in bulk; by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form; by sewage, by garbage; and with the prevention of air pollution from ships.