(Contains extracts of material courtesy of IMO, AMSA, RMS & A.N.T.A.  publications, Ranger Hope © 2017


Marine Pollution


National Plan

NSW Plan


Planned Maintenance

Sensitive Environments

NSW Legislation


Case Studies

Marine Pollution


The growth in the maritime transport of oil, size of new tankers, increasing chemical carriage and a growing concern for the world’s environment left the 1954 OILPOL Convention as inadequate. A new IMO Assembly prompted partly by the TORREY CANYON incident met in London in 1973.


The resulting International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)  was the most ambitious international treaty covering maritime pollution ever adopted. It deals not only with oil but with all forms of marine pollution from ships except the disposal of land-generated waste into the sea by dumping (which was covered by a previous London Sea Dumping Convention).


Australia is a party to the 1973/78 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78 as amended) as well as the 1972 Convention on the prevention of Marine Pollution by dumping of Wastes and other Matter. Australian maritime pollution laws apply to vessels of all nations within 200 nautical miles offshore.



Australian Commonwealth Legislation includes:


Navigation Act 2012

Protection of the Sea (Harmful Anti-fouling Systems) Act 2006

The Environmental Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975

The Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983.



Marine Orders are a form of delegated legislation under Australia’s Commonwealth maritime laws that apply to Australian and foreign vessels. Those that reference and regulate the Commonwealth Legislation with regard to pollution control are:


MO91 Marine pollution prevention — oil

MO 93 Marine pollution prevention — noxious liquid substances

MO 94 Marine pollution prevention — packaged harmful substances 

MO 95 Marine pollution prevention — garbage

MO 96 Marine pollution prevention — sewage

MO 97 Marine pollution prevention — air pollution

MO 98 Marine pollution prevention — antifouling



Australian State/Northern Territory legislation includes:


New South Wales-  Marine Pollution Act 2012

South Australia- Protection of Marine Waters (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1987

Western Australia- Pollution of Waters by oil and Noxious Substances Act 1987

Tasmania- Pollution of Waters by Oil and Noxious Substances Act 1987

Victoria-  Pollution of Waters by Oil and Noxious Substances Act 1986 Environment Protection Act 1970

Queensland-  Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Act 1995

Northern Territory- Marine Pollution Act 1999



The Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983.

This Commonwealth Act is administered by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The Act implements the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) in Australian Commonwealth waters. Jurisdiction under this Act extends from 3 nautical miles (nm) out to the Australia Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nm) and also applies within the 3nm limits where a State/Territory government does not have complementary legislation.




MARPOL includes regulations aimed at preventing both accidental pollution, and pollution from routine operations. Special Areas with strict controls on operational discharges are included in MARPOL’s  six technical Annexes:


Annex I:    Regulations for the prevention of pollution by oil.

(oil mixtures, distillates, gasoline, jet fuels, etc.)


Annex II:   Regulations for the control of pollution by noxious liquid substances in bulk.

(mainly chemicals including acids, alcohols, castor oil, hydrogen peroxide, pentane, etc. Also citric juice, glycerine, milk, molasses, wine, etc.)


Annex III:  Regulations for the prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form.

(includes freight containers, portable tanks, road and rail tank wagons, etc.)


Annex IV:  Regulations for the prevention of pollution by sewage from ships.

(wastes from toilets, drainage from medical premises, drainage from spaces containing live animals, etc.)


Annex V:   Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships.

(plastic bags, synthetic ropes, food wastes, paper products, glass, metal, crockery, packaging material, synthetic fishing nets, etc.)


Annex VI:  Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships.

(smoke and fumes)




Annex I - Oil


Except where otherwise stated, these regulations apply to all tankers of 50 gross tons (about 30 metres in length) and above and other ships of 400 gross tons (about 40 metres) and above.


A complete ban on operational discharges of oil from ships except under the following conditions:



For all ships,


1       The rate at which oil may be discharged must not exceed 60 litres per mile travelled by the ship;

2       The oil content of any bilge water discharged must be below 100 parts per million;

3       Ship must be more than 12 miles from nearest land; and

4       Ship must have in operation an approved oil discharge monitoring and control system, oily water separating equipment or oil filtering equipment.



For tankers,


1       No discharge of any oil whatsoever must be made from the cargo spaces of a tanker within 50 miles of the nearest land;

2       The total quantity of oil which a new tanker may discharge in any ballast voyage must not exceed 1/30,000 of the total cargo carrying capacity of the vessel. For existing tankers the limit is 1/15,000 of the cargo capacity.


The definition of oil includes petroleum in any form including crude oil, fuel oil, sludge, oil refuse and refined products (other than petro-chemicals).


‘Nearest land’ is defined as the baseline used to establish the territorial sea. However, the Convention makes a special case for the Great Barrier Reef where nearest land means a line shown between a series of co-ordinates on the outer edge of the reef. All distances relating to discharge prohibitions are measured from these lines.


The discharge of oil is completely forbidden in certain ‘special areas’ where the threat to the marine environment is especially great. These include the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea and some areas in the Middle East.


Parties to the Convention are obliged to provide adequate facilities for the reception of residues and oily mixtures at oil loading terminals, repair ports, etc.


Annex II - Noxious Liquid Substances


This section contains detailed requirements for discharge criteria and measures for the control of pollution by noxious liquid substances carried in bulk.


The substances are divided into four categories which are graded A to D according to the hazard they present to marine resources, human health or amenities.


Some 250 substances have been evaluated and included in a list which is appended to the Convention.


As with Section I there are requirements for the discharge of residues only into reception facilities unless various conditions, depending on the category of the substance are complied with. In any case no discharge of residues containing noxious substances is permitted within twelve miles of the nearest land in a depth of water of less than 25 metres. Even stricter restrictions apply in the Baltic Sea and Black Sea. Parties to the Convention are obliged to issue detailed requirements for the design, construction and operation of chemical tankers which contain at least all the provisions of the Code for Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk.


Every ship subject to the provisions of this section, will be surveyed for compliance in a similar manner to oil tankers and other ships under section I.


Operations involving substances to which Section II applies must be recorded in a Cargo Record Book, which can be inspected by the authorities of any Party to the Convention.



Annex III - Harmful Substances In Packaged Form


This section applies to all ships carrying harmful substances in packaged forms, or in freight containers, portable tanks or road and rail tank wagons. It requires the issuing of detailed requirements on packaging, marking, labelling, documentation, stowage, quantity limitations, exceptions and notifications, for preventing or minimising pollution by harmful substances. To help implement this requirement the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code is being revised to cover pollution aspects.







Annex IV - Sewage


Ships are not permitted to discharge sewage within four miles of the nearest land unless they have in operation an approved treatment plant. Between three and twelve miles from land sewage must be comminuted and disinfected before discharge.


Under Annex IV of MARPOL, it is proposed that the discharge of sewage from ships should be controlled in all coastal areas in a manner similar to that of garbage. Australia has already decided that we should adopt the Annex. When signed and enacted, the following vessels are expected to be required to fit holding tanks and ancillary pollution control equipment:


        New vessels of 400 gross registered tonnes and over.

        New vessels certified to carry more than 15 persons.

        Existing vessels of 400 gross registered tonnes and over (to be fitted within 10 years).

        Existing vessels certified to carry more than 15 persons (to be fitted within 10 years).



Annex V - Garbage


As far as garbage is concerned, specific minimum distances have been set for the disposal of the principal types of garbage. Perhaps most important feature of this section is the complete prohibition placed on the disposal of plastics, including synthetic ropes and fishing nets into the sea.


Every ship of 100 gross tonnage (instead of 400 GT required by the superseded MARPOL Annex V) and above, and every ship which is certified to carry 15 or more persons, shall carry a garbage management plan (based on IMO Guidelines and in working language of the crew) containing procedures on:


  • garbage minimization
  • garbage collection
  • garbage storage
  • garbage processing
  • garbage disposal
  • equipment used onboard for handling of garbage
  • the designation of the person or persons in charge for implementing the Garbage Management Plan





National Plan To Combat Marine Pollution


This was set up after the grounding of the Oceanic Grandeur in Torres Strait in April 1970.


Stockpiles of dispersant materials and equipment are set up at 9 ports around Australia. The material and equipment can be taken by sea or air rapidly to any area where it may be needed. Sydney also has a separate stockpile of transfer equipment, which can be used to lighten tankers in the event of collision or stranding. It consists of submersible pumps, hoses, generators, fenders, etc. The cost of this is met by the Pollution of the Sea by Oil (Shipping Levy) and (Shipping Levy Collection) Acts.



Dumping At Sea


Under the Australian Environmental Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981, licences are needed by all involved in the operation of dumping at sea. This law relates to dumping of sand, gravel, factory waste and other materials.



The Effects Of Oil On Wildlife


We have all seen pictures and videos of wildlife covered in black, sticky oil after an oil spill. These pictures are usually of oiled birds. Many people are not aware that it is not just birds that get oiled during a spill. Other marine life such as marine mammals can also suffer from the effects of an oil spill. Even small spills can severely affect marine wildlife.


Not all oils are the same. There are many different types of oil and this means that each oil spill is different depending on the type of oil spilt. Each oil spill will have a different impact on wildlife and the surrounding environment depending on:


        the type of oil spilled,


        the location of the spill,


        the species of wildlife in the area,


        the timing of breeding cycles and seasonal migrations,


        and even the weather at sea during the oil spill.


Oil affects wildlife by coating their bodies with a thick layer. Many oils also become stickier over time (this is called weathering) and so adheres to wildlife even more. Since most oil floats on the surface of the water it can effect many marine animals and sea birds. Unfortunately, birds and marine mammals will not necessarily avoid an oil spill. Some marine mammals, such as seals and dolphins, have been seen swimming and feeding in or near an oil spill. Some fish are attracted to oil because it looks like floating food. This endangers sea birds, which are attracted to schools of fish and may dive through oil slicks to get to the fish.


Oil that sticks to fur or feathers, usually crude and bunker fuels, can cause many problems. Some of these problems are:


        hypothermia in birds by reducing or destroying the insulation and waterproofing properties of their feathers;


        hypothermia in fur seal pups by reducing or destroying the insulation of their woolly fur (called lanugo). Adult fur seals have blubber and would not suffer from hypothermia if oiled. Dolphins and whales do not have fur, so oil will not easily stick to them;


        birds become easy prey, as their feathers being matted by oil make them less able to fly away;


        marine mammals such as fur seals become easy prey if oil sticks their flippers to their bodies, making it hard for them to escape predators;


        birds sink or drown because oiled feathers weigh more and their sticky feathers cannot trap enough air between them to keep them buoyant;


        fur seal pups drown if oil sticks their flippers to their bodies;



           birds lose body weight as their metabolism tries to combat low body temperature;


        marine mammals lose body weight when they can not feed due to contamination of their environment by oil;


        birds become dehydrated and can starve as they give up or reduce drinking, diving and swimming to look for food;


        inflammation or infection in dugongs and difficulty eating due to oil sticking to the sensory hairs around their mouths;


        disguise of scent that seal pups and mothers rely on to identify each other, leading to rejection, abandonment and starvation of seal pups; and


        damage to the insides of animals and birds bodies, for example by causing ulcers or bleeding in their stomachs if they ingest the oil by accident.


Oil does not have to be sticky to endanger wildlife. Both sticky oils such as crude oil and bunker fuels, and non-sticky oils such as refined petroleum products can affect different wildlife. Oils such as refined petroleum products do not last as long in the marine environment as crude or bunker fuel. They are not likely to stick to a bird or animal, but they are much more poisonous than crude oil or bunker fuel. While some of the following effects on sea birds, marine mammals and turtles can be caused by crude oil or bunker fuel, they are more commonly caused by refined oil products.


Oil in the environment or oil that is ingested can cause:


        poisoning of wildlife higher up the food chain if they eat large amounts of other organisms that have taken oil into their tissues;


        interference with breeding by making the animal too ill to breed, interfering with breeding behaviour such as a bird sitting on their eggs, or by reducing the number of eggs a bird will lay;


        damage to the airways and lungs of marine mammals and turtles, congestion, pneumonia, emphysema and even death by breathing in droplets of oil, or oil fumes or gas;


        damage to a marine mammal’s or turtle’s eyes, which can cause ulcers, conjunctivitis and blindness, making it difficult for them to find food, and sometimes causing starvation;


        irritation or ulceration of skin, mouth or nasal cavities;


        damage to and suppression of a marine mammal’s immune system, sometimes causing secondary bacterial or fungal infections;


        damage to red blood cells;


        organ damage and failure such as a bird or marine mammal’s liver;


        damage to a bird’s adrenal tissue which interferes with a bird’s ability to maintain blood pressure, and concentration of fluid in its body;


           decrease in the thickness of egg shells;




        damage to fish eggs, larvae and young fish;


        contamination of beaches where turtles breed causing contamination of eggs, adult turtles or newly hatched turtles;


        damage to estuaries, coral reefs, seagrass and mangrove habitats which are the breeding areas of many fish and crustaceans, interfering with their breeding;


        tainting of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and algae;


        interference with a baleen whale's feeding system by tar-like oil, as this type of whale feeds by skimming the surface and filtering out the water; and


        poisoning of young through the mother, as a dolphin calf can absorb oil through it’s mothers milk.


Animals covered in oil at the beginning of a spill may be affected differently from animals encountering the oil later. For example, early on, the oil maybe more poisonous, so the wildlife affected early will take in more of the poison. The weather conditions can reduce or increase the potential for oil to cause damage to the environment and wildlife. For example, warm seas and high winds will encourage lighter oils to form gases, and will reduce the amount of oil that stays in the water to affect marine life.


The impact of an oil spill on wildlife is also affected by where spilled oil reaches. For example, fur seal pups are affected more than adults by oil spills because pups swim in tidal pools and along rocky coasts, whereas the adults swim in open water where it is less likely for oil to linger. Dugongs feed on seagrass along the coast and therefore be more affected by oil spills.


Different resources will be needed to combat an oil spill, depending on the number and type of wildlife that is affected. Quick and humane care of wildlife affected by oil spills is required by law. The National Oiled Wildlife Response guidelines have been developed at both the Commonwealth and State/Territory level under Australia’s national strategy to respond to oil and chemical spills in the marine environment. This strategy is known as the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and other Noxious and Hazardous Substances (National Plan).



Pollution Prevention  From “Small” Vessels


        Observe anti-spill and fire precautions when re-fuelling.

        Don’t discharge oily bilges within 12 nautical miles from coast. Observe the above guidelines when discharging outside 12 miles. Oily bilges must be discharged into a mobile or a shore based pump-out facility. Observe the above “large vessel” guidelines when discharging at sea. Bilge water can easily be cleaned by installing an oil absorbent pad or a oily water separator near the bilge pump. Bilge sponges are available from most chandlers.

        Don’t discharge plastics anywhere

        Observe the discharge of garbage, toilet waste and noise pollution regulations stated above.

        If your vessel is within 12 nautical miles from land you must retain all garbage on board for disposal ashore. However, if you have a grinder or similar garbage processor on board your vessel, you may discharge processed non-plastic garbage at a distance greater than 3 nautical miles from land. No form of garbage can be dumped within 3 nautical miles from land for reasons of visual and beach pollution etc.

        Decant cooking oils and fats into suitable container and take home for disposal. Wipe plates clean with a paper towel before washing up.

        Use minimal amounts of washing detergent.

        Engine oil must only be discharged into an oil reception barge or a shore facility.

        If a vessel is not fitted with a separate oily waste tank, oily bilge water should be pumped into a container on deck for disposal when ashore.

        Fishing vessels must make ever effort to retrieve all lost or damaged fishing gear. Lost fishing gear should be reported to the Federal Sea Safety Centre in Canberra. Where practicable fishing gear should have degradable panels or sections of natural wood or wire to reduce the potential of ghost fishing.

        No discharge of any type is permitted in the specially protected area of the Great Barrier Reef. This means that vessels are prevented from discharging unprocessed garbage within 12 nautical miles of the outer edge of the reef - in some places this is as much as 162 nautical miles from the Queensland coast.

        Waterways officers have the power to order any vessel creating excessive noise from its engines to leave the water. Power boats must be fitted with an efficient silencer and operated with regard for other waterway users and nearby residents. Moored sailing vessels too must control noise pollution by preventing loose rigging slapping against the mast. Sound carries long distances over water.



           When using launching ramps, particularly in the early morning, be conscious of the annoyance for nearby residents created by conversation and motors.

        You are required to report any polluting spill from your own vessel, and, requested to report sighting of any other.

        In most areas, the tidal flushing characteristic, of estuarine waterways protect water quality from toilet waste. However, in non-tidal waters, all commercial vessels of 6 metres or longer must be equipped with holding tanks and ancillary pollution control equipment. In addition, all vessels (commercial or non-commercial) operating in certain non-tidal areas must be fitted with a holding tank and ancillary pollution control equipment, if:

                  there is a toilet on board,

                  the vessel is 6 metres or longer and is equipped with sleeping accommodation.


On the non-tidal Murray-Darling system in NSW there are pump ashore stations at Wentworth, Buronga and Moama. At these stations, vessels can pump out their holding tanks and portable toilets in to the town sewerage system.


At the non-tidal Myall Lakes, the Waterways Authority provides a barge-based mobile sewage collection service which patrols the Lakes system on a regular schedule to empty boat holding tanks and portable toilets.







NSW Plan


1       Legislation to require vessels suspected of causing pollution to deposit a bond sufficient to cover clean-up costs and possible penalties before being allowed to sail. It affects mainly large seagoing vessels.

2       Recent changes to the Management of Waters and Waterside Lands Regulations NSW make it an offence for vessels to discharge toilet wastes into the waters of Sydney Harbour and tributaries from 1 July 1992.

          In summary, from July 1992, new boats with toilets will need to be fitted with a holding tank, storage toilet or on-board treatment facilities: Older boats may retain their pump through toilets but may not discharge waste in Sydney Harbour.

          Various pump-out facilities are being, provided including one at Wharves 20-21 Pyrmont.

3       Prohibition of discharge of sewage and garbage from recreational and commercial vessels into New South Wa1es waters. This legislation was also planned to be implemented in June 1992 to correspond with number 2 above.



No discharge of waste (including kitchen and toilet waste) is permitted in harbours and inland waters. “Grey water”, that is, wastewater from showers, galleys and laundries, is usually not included in the Acts. Vessels are expected to bring the garbage ashore in garbage bags and may be required to fit holding tanks for toilet waste or carry portable toilets that are to be emptied into pump out facilities. Vessels may also fit an on-board waste treatment system approved by an Authority. Oily bilges must be discharged into a mobile or a shore based pump-out facility.



In addition to the public pump-out facilities in some harbours and waterways, certain marina and yacht clubs are required to install facilities for their own customers.


Many State authorities are empowered to impose “on the spot” fines for breaches of their pollution legislation. Penalties for non-compliance are high: as much as $260,000 for an individual and over $1 million for the company that owns the law -breaking vessel.


The operator of a busy party boat would need to consider a number of issues in developing and implementing an effective Garbage management plan. These might include:




        Disposal facility ashore

        Recycling plan

        Monitoring and review of the management plan



Vessel Sewage Management


        No discharge of untreated sewage in harbours and inland waterways.

        No discharge of treated or untreated sewage in:

                  waterways in which aquaculture, including oyster growing, occurs.

                  waterways which are used for drinking water supplies

                  in or near a bathing area, mooring area, marina and anchorage area.

        Class 4E commercial vessels over 6 metres (e.g. houseboats) to install holding tanks for discharge into sewage pump-out facilities.

        Class 1 commercial vessels (passenger carrying vessels) to install holding tanks for discharge into sewage pump-out facilities.

        Recreational vessel operators to suitably manage sewage from their vessels, depending on the conditions applying to waterways in which they operate, the length of the journey and the type of activity being undertaken.



The master of a vessel in NSW waters, should develop a sewerage management plan, including:



        Pump out schedule and record book

        Monitoring and reviewing of plan





        Take portable tanks out of the vessel for filling.

          (Do not carry spare fuel in plastic containers. They can rupture without being noticed.)

        Hoist flag B for refuelling internal tanks.

        Keep watch.

        No smoking.

        No fires and no motors running.

        Disconnect the battery.

        Turn off gas.

        Have a suitable fire extinguisher available near the filling station.

        Check for leaks.

        Block off deck scuppers and freeing ports to contain any spill on deck.

        Secure vessel properly alongside.

        Provide earth connection to or discharge static electricity from the fuel hose.

        Keep the fuel nozzle in contact with the filler pipe to prevent static electricity build up.

        Make sure the fuel goes into the correct tank.

        Constantly monitor the tank being filled.

        Consider stability when filling side tanks.

        Fill slowly towards the end.

        On disconnection of fuel line, catch any spillage in a container.

        Clean up any spill immediately.

        Keep the vessel well ventilated, and close up enclosed spaces.

        Ventilate for some time before starting engine.




In Case Of An Oil Spill


                  Cease operation

                  Ease pressure on overflowing tank.

                  Sound emergency alarm

                  Ban smoking anywhere on board

                  Take all fire precautions

                  Control spill

                  Inform authorities

                  Clean up on deck



Pollution may not be an offence when it is necessary to jettison or discharge pollutants to save a vessel and her crew from grave danger.



Fuel Expansion In Hot Weather


Fuel expands in volume about 0.5% per 1°C rise in temperature. Therefore, with a 10° rise in air temperature - a common daily fluctuation in Australia - the fuel in a tank, sitting in open air, may expand by 5%. Ignoring some expansion of the tank itself, this amounts to 5 cm rise in the sounding in a tank full of fuel, measuring 1 x 1 x l metre. Without sufficient ullage (space between the liquid and tank top), the fuel could overflow. Due to pollution hazards associated with fuel, it is usual for fuel tanks to be fitted with a venting pipe.





Oil And Coolant Drainage System


The illustration shows a central waste pump set up to extract dirty lube oil, engine coolant and bilge liquid. Once collected into a container, the liquids are disposed off ashore in an environmentally safe manner.

















Oil And Coolant Drainage System

(Volvo Penta)



Some engines can be drained with a hand-operated drainage pump. Installing an electric pump is another option. The pump can be run in either direction by changing the polarity. To prevent engine being accidentally drained, connect the pump hose only when changing oil.












Oil Drainage Pump




Planned Maintenance


The Master is responsible for the seaworthiness of the vessel and must ensure that all national and international requirements regarding safety and pollution prevention are being complied with. Effective planning is required to ensure that the vessel, its machinery systems and its services are functioning correctly and being properly maintained, including dry-docking to maintain hull smoothness.


Planned maintenance is primarily concerned with reducing breakdowns and the associated costs. Planned maintenance is of two kinds:


Preventative maintenance is aimed at preventing failures or detecting failures at an early stage.


Corrective maintenance is aimed at repairing failures that were expected, but were not prevented because they were not critical for safety or economy.


Slipping and repair work to vessels ashore creates special risks of pollution. Some simple methods of minimising problems are given in each of the following typical repair operations:


Pollution Risk


Dust from sandblasting, (minimised by)


Paints and solvents leaching back to watercourse

sediment traps

Noise from sanding hull


Oily bilge water (beneath docking plugs)

catch-alls under plugs



Pollution From Anti-Fouling


Antifouling prevents marine growth on the hull, but it is also generally damaging to the environment. Law is continually restricting the permitted leakage of the active ingredients in paints. Australia, does not allow the use of mercury-based fungicides or tin-based (TBT or tributyl tin) antifouling paints. Sweden has banned even the use of copper-based antifouling on its Baltic coastline.


Regulations for small vessels are stricter than for large vessels. The reason given is that small vessel harbours are mostly located in shallow waters or fresh waters, which are also the spawning ground for fish. Furthermore, small vessels spend most of their time tied up in harbours. This adds to the impact on the environment of these waters.


A little thoughtfulness before using an anti-fouling paint goes a long way. For example, trailer boats, which spend most of their life out of water, do not need to use them. All they need is a Teflon treatment, combined with sponge cleaning a few times during the season.



Fuel Saving Alternative To Antifouling


Lanolin is made from wool grease - the water-repellent that protects sheep from harsh effects of weather. It is now, commercially available in cans. When coated on hulls of vessels, it makes them slippery. It is claimed to not only make boats go faster, but also eliminate the need for anti-fouling.



Non-TBT Antifoulings (some still under trial)


1.      Foulant-Release Coatings: These so called ‘non-stick coatings’ are silicon elastomers. Their service life is claimed to be similar to that of TBT, but are costly.

2.      Ceramic-Epoxy Coatings: Suitable for fibreglass as well as metal hulls.

3.      Epoxy-Copper Flake Paints: A bonded-copper system, which claims to protect boats for up to 10 years but cannot be used on aluminium hulls.

4.      Electric Current Systems: They produce hyperchlorite from seawater on the surface of the hull, which is said to sterilise the surface for up to 4 years. Another similar system uses alternating current and a conductive hull coating.

5.      Biological Compounds: About 50 natural substances are being trialled.



Sensitive Enviroments - Great Barrier Reef


Under MARPOL, no discharge of any type is permitted in the area of Great Barrier Reef. In some cases this can be as much as 150 nautical miles from the Queensland coast. Where discharges are prohibited within a certain distance from the land these distances are measured from the outer edge of the reef.





Area of no discharge (2005)





Fishing Vessels


Fishing vessels must make every effort to retrieve all lost or damaged fishing gear. Lost fishing gear should be reported to the Australian Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC) in Canberra. This can easily be done via a Coast Radio Station. If, while engaged in deepwater trawling a net fouls a submarine cable and the net has to be sacrificed, the skipper should anchor a buoy on the spot to assist in the later recovery of the net



Introduced Marine Pests Program


What Is The Introduced Marine Pests Program


The Introduced Marine Pests Program is a key platform in the Federal Government’s response to introduction of exotic marine pests such as Northern Pacific seastars and Japanese kelp in the Australian marine environment. The Program’s overall goal is to support actions that will ultimately lead to the control and local eradication of introduced marine pest species.


The Program provides advice and funds to help combat marine pest outbreaks. In doing so, it complements the barrier controls set in place by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service under the Australian Ballast Water Management Strategy.



Why Do We Need An Introduced Marine Pests Program?


To date, Australia has lacked the organised capacity to effectively deal with introduced marine pests. This and a lack of knowledge about marine pests here and overseas combine to frustrate the efforts of communities wanting to tackle the problem.


The Introduced Marine Pests Program is working to overcome these problems by building the elements of a national incursion response capability. The establishment of a comprehensive introduced marine pest incursion management system is one of the key initial actions identified in Australia’s Ocean’s Policy.



Funding Priorities Of The Introduced Marine Pests Program?


Funding is being directed to help government, industry and community stakeholders determine the major impacts of exotic marine species and activities that allow pests to take hold. The Program will also help develop the best ways to counter these threats.


Funding priorities for the Program are:


1.      improve understanding of the impacts of pest species;

2.      implement technology and techniques that contribute to control and eradication;

3.      respond to selected incidents of new pest incursions;

4.      increase community awareness of and participation in introduced marine pest issues.



Don’t Confuse Algal Blooms With Oil


Sometimes it is easy to confuse naturally accruing algal blooms with oil. Floating Sea Scum (Trichodesmium) is common in early summer. It is algal plant life in tones of red. yellow or brown. Algae decaying along the shoreline can also turn greenish or release a purple dye. It may appear in large beach slicks, often accompanied by putrid fishy, chlorine, iodine or oil smell. But, unlike oil, it will wash off in water.


Coral Spawns: Corals in places such as the Great Barrier Reef spawn for a couple of days each year between October and December. Its timing is linked to the lunar cycle. Slicks of these minute eggs can be easily mistaken for oil slicks. The spawns are of pink, orange or red colour with uniform sized particles. Many of these eggs die. They then turn whitish and clump together to form a thick, dirty and irregular scum. It too will wash off in water.



Stranding Or Grounding


Stranding is the accidental grounding of a vessel on a beach, reef or shoreline while grounding is the accidental contact with the seabed other than the shoreline.



Actions To Take (accidental stranding or grounding):


        sound the alarm to muster the crew/passengers (7 short, 1 long)

        stop engines and auxiliaries if grounding is severe

        account for all personnel and check for injuries

        sound all bilges and tanks to ascertain whether the ship has been holed

        using a lead line sound all around the vessel to ascertain the extent of the grounding. This will determine whether the vessel’s stern is still afloat or grounded for her whole length, and indicate where the deepest water lies.

        take bearings and plot your position - then attempt to determine the type of grounding from the chart

        determine the tide and tidal stream

        check weather forecasts for the area

        check for hull damage (if damage has occurred it may be best to stay grounded, while repairs are carried out).


If the hull is found to be intact and the stern of the vessel is floating, the first attempt at refloating is to go astern on the engines. However, this should not be too prolonged because the wash may tend to build up sand or mud against the vessel’s side making matters worse.


If this fails it is probably because the force of the impact has forced out the water between the vessel’s hull and the seabed creating a vacuum seal. The most effective method to break the vacuum seal is to lightening the vessel aft so that the stern lifts allowing water to find its way under the forward part of the vessel’s hull. This can be done by pumping out aft ballast tanks, or jettisoning weights.


If the ship is not in immediate danger and the tide is rising it may be prudent to wait for a rise in the tide before attempting to refloat again.


If grounded on a reef at night in an uncertain location, it may be prudent to stay grounded and add ballast to prevent further damage to the hull due to movement of the vessel on the reef.


If the vessel has grounded for her entire length the situation is more serious. Two anchors will have to be carried out from the stern and laid out in tandem.


Another method is to lay two anchors out from the stern - one from each quarter. By hauling on each anchor in turn it may be possible to yaw (wag the vessel’s tail) thus helping to break the vessel free. Engines may be used ahead with the rudder hard over first one way and then the other to assist the operation.


If the vessel has grounded on a rocky coast then the danger of hull damage is much greater. However, the vessel is likely to have only a small portion of her hull in contact with the seabed. A vacuum seal is not a possibility in this case and refloating may be very difficult or impossible. If contact is made with the seabed at one point only, pumping ballast, shifting (or jettisoning) weights in an attempt to alter trim or to list the vessel may help.


If attempts to refloat the vessel by the above means fail, then assistance will have to be obtained. Another vessel or a tug may be required to tow the vessel off. If a tug is used, make it fast alongside if possible as the scouring effect of the tug’s propeller wash will assist to free the vessel. Display the appropriate signal for a ‘vessel aground’.


Once clear of the obstruction it will be necessary to again check the vessel for any damage or ingress of water. Also check propulsion, steerage systems and engine cooling systems.


Note events in the vessel’s official logbook or record book and make a report to the appropriate Marine Authority, even if there is no damage











NSW Marine Pollution Act 2012


Part 6 Prevention of pollution by sewage

Division 1 Offences relating to discharge of sewage

53   Discharge of sewage into State waters from ship prohibited


(Reg 11 of Annex IV of MARPOL)

(1)  The master and the owner of a large ship are each guilty of an offence if any sewage is discharged from the ship into State waters.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  in the case of an individual—$55,000, or

(b)  in the case of a corporation—$275,000.

(2)  In proceedings for an offence against this section in relation to a ship:

(a)  it is sufficient for the prosecution to allege and prove that sewage was discharged from the ship into State waters, but

(b)  it is a defence if it is proved that, by virtue of Division 2, this section does not apply in relation to the discharge.


54   Causing discharge of sewage into State waters from ship prohibited

(Reg 11 of Annex IV of MARPOL)

(1)  A crew member of a large ship is guilty of an offence if the crew member’s act causes any sewage to be discharged from the ship into State waters.

Maximum penalty: $55,000.

(2)  A person involved in the operation or maintenance of a large ship is guilty of an offence if the person’s act causes any sewage to be discharged from the ship into State waters.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  in the case of an individual—$55,000, or

(b)  in the case of a corporation—$275,000.

(3)  In proceedings for an offence against this section, it is sufficient for the prosecution to allege and prove that:

(a)  a discharge of sewage occurred from a ship into State waters, and

(b)  the crew member or person involved in the operation or maintenance of the ship committed an act that caused the discharge.


55   Offence of being responsible for discharge of sewage into State waters from a ship

(Reg 11 of Annex IV of MARPOL)

A person responsible for the discharge of any sewage from a large ship into State waters is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  in the case of an individual—$220,000, or

(b)  in the case of a corporation—$1,100,000.


Division 2 Defences


56   Defence for discharge caused by damage to ship or equipment

(Reg 3.1.2 of Annex IV of MARPOL)

Division 1 does not apply to the discharge of sewage from a large ship if:

(a)  the sewage escaped from the ship in consequence of unavoidable damage to the ship or its equipment, and

(b)  all reasonable precautions were taken before and after the occurrence of the damage for the purpose of preventing or minimising the escape of the sewage.


57   Defence for discharge to secure safety or save life

(Reg 3.1.1 of Annex IV of MARPOL)

Division 1 does not apply to the discharge of sewage from a large ship for the purpose of securing the safety of a ship or saving life at sea.


58   Defence for discharge of comminuted and disinfected sewage not less than 3 nautical miles from the nearest land

(Reg 11.1.1 of Annex IV of MARPOL)

Division 1 does not apply to the discharge of sewage from a large ship if:

(a)  the sewage has been comminuted and disinfected using a system approved in accordance with the regulations, or orders made pursuant to the regulations, giving effect to Regulation 9.1.2 of Annex IV of MARPOL, and

(b)  the discharge occurs when the ship is at a distance of not less than 3 nautical miles from the nearest land (within the meaning of Annex IV of MARPOL), and

(c)  if the sewage has been stored in holding tanks or originates from spaces containing living animals—the sewage is not discharged instantaneously but is discharged at a rate prescribed by the regulations when the ship is proceeding en route at a speed of not less than 4 knots.


59   Defence of discharge of treated sewage

(Reg 11.1.2 of Annex IV of MARPOL)

(1)  Division 1 does not apply to the discharge of sewage from a large ship engaged in overseas voyages if both of the following apply:

(a)  the sewage has been treated in a sewage treatment plant on the ship, being a plant:

(i)  that an inspector has certified meets the requirements of the regulations giving effect to Regulation 9.1.1 of Annex IV of MARPOL, and

(ii)  the test results of which are laid down in the ship’s sewage certificate within the meaning of Division 12C of Part IV of the Navigation Act 1912 of the Commonwealth,

(b)  the effluent does not produce visible floating solids in State waters and does not cause discolouration of State waters or other surrounding waters.

(2)  However, the defence created by subsection (1) does not apply to a discharge into a zone prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this section.


The NSW Maritime Pollution Act  allows for right to enter and inspect commercial vessels regarding possible infringements of the regulations if they suspect that the vessel could cause an incident.






Dangerous Goods


The International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code is published by the International Maritime Organisations (IMO). It comes in 4 volumes to which a country may add a supplement to cover any variations of regulations. The IMDG Code is popularly known as the Blue Book. It gives detailed instruction on the safe packing and stowage of dangerous goods for carriage on ships which are not specifically designed or converted as a whole for that purpose.


The carriage of dangerous goods by sea is prohibited except in accordance with the provision of the Blue Book. They do not, however, apply to ship’s stores and equipment.





Dangerous goods are divided in the IMDG Code into the following classes:


Class 1:     Explosives

Class 2:     Gases: compressed, liquefied or dissolved under pressure.

Class 3:     Inflammable (or flammable) liquids.

Class 4.1: Inflammable solids

Class 4.2: Inflammable solids, or substances; liable to spontaneous combustion.

Class 4.3: Inflammable solids, or substances, which in contact with water emit inflammable gases.

Class 5.1: Oxidising substances.

Class 5.2: Organic peroxides.

Class 6.1: Poisonous (toxic) substances.

Class 6.2: Infectious substances.

Class 7:     Radioactive substances.

Class 8:     Corrosives

Class 9:     Miscellaneous dangerous substances, that is any other substance which experience has shown, or may show, to be of such a dangerous character that the provision of this Chapter should apply to it.



NOTE: “Inflammable” has the same meaning as “flammable”.


IMDG Labelling Of Dangerous Goods






































All Lettering Black


International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code

United Nations Labelling


Numbers 1 - 8 indicate classification



The Law Relating To Dangerous Goods In NSW.


The following laws are contained in the NSW Navigation Act 1901:


Carriage Of Dangerous Goods


1       No person shall be entitled to carry in any ship or to require the master or owner thereof to carry therein any aquafortis, oil of vitriol, gunpowder, nitroglycerine, or any other goods of a dangerous nature.


2       If any person carries or sends by any ship any goods of a dangerous nature without distinctly marking their nature on the outside of the package containing the same and giving notice in writing to the master or owner at or before the time of carrying or sending the same to be shipped, he shall for every such offence incur a penalty not exceeding two hundred dollars.


3       The master or owner of any ship may refuse to take on board any parcel or package that he suspects to contain goods of a dangerous nature, and may, to satisfy himself of the contents thereof, require such parcel or package to be opened in his presence:



Ships Not To Be Loaded So As To Endanger Their Safety Etc.


1       If the carriage on any ship or vessel of any cargo, live stock, provisions, water or stores would endanger her safety, or interfere with the comfort of her passengers, no master or owner of such ship or vessel shall allow such cargo, live stock, provisions, water, or stores to be carried or stowed onboard.


2       The Board may require the master or owner of any steamship entitled by her certificate to carry a certain quantity of live stock to provide such fittings for such stock as it deems requisite.


3       The Board shall be the proper authority to determine whether in any case the safety of the ship is endangered or the comfort of the passengers interfered with.


4       Any master or owner who after notification from the Board that his ship or vessel is loaded in any manner as hereinbefore prohibited proceeds to sea or gets under weigh shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding two hundred dollars.



Stowage Of Cargo, Grain Etc.


1       No cargo of which more than one-third consists of wheat, maize, oats, barley, or any other kind of grain (hereinafter referred to as grain cargo) shall be loaded on board any ship in any port or place in New South Wales unless such grain cargo is contained in bags, sacks, or barrels, or secured from shifting by boards, bulkheads or otherwise.


2       Any managing owner, or master, or the agent of such owner, who being charged with the loading of such ship or the sending her to sea, knowingly allows any grain cargo or part of a grain cargo to be shipped therein for carriage contrary to the provisions of this section shall for every such offence be liable to a penalty not exceeding two hundred dollars.


What This Means


You must not carry dangerous goods unless it is safe to do so. They must be properly packed and labelled. The containers must be in good condition. The Blue Book should be consulted regarding handling, stowage and separation of cargoes on board.


The skipper must produce a Notice of Intention to Ship Dangerous Goods, duly endorsed by the Maritime Services Board.


The master can refuse or jettison any cargo which they suspect contain goods of a dangerous nature. All port regulations and fire, pollution and safety precautions must be observed.


While unloading a mixed cargo, an operator may take the following precautions to lessen the risks of a pollution incident.


Safety Alongside the Wharf:


        Vessel properly secured

        Cargo nets and Safety nets in place

        Unwanted personnel kept clear

        Crew to wear safety gear

        Cargo watch established

        The cargo must therefore be labelled, stowed and transported as per the IMDG regulations



Part 9 Reporting of pollution incidents

Division 1 Meaning of “reportable incident”


86   Meaning of “reportable incident”

In this Part:

reportable incident, in relation to a ship, means any of the following:


(a)  a discharge or probable discharge into State waters from the ship of oil other than a discharge of the kind or in the circumstances specified in sections 22–25,

(b)  a discharge or probable discharge into State waters from the ship of a noxious liquid substance (other than a substance referred to in Regulation 6.1.4 of Annex II of MARPOL) other than of the kind or in the circumstances specified in sections 35–41,

(c)  a jettisoning or probable jettisoning from the ship into State waters of a harmful substance in packaged form including a substance in a freight container, portable tank, road and rail vehicle or shipborne barge,

(d)  in relation to a ship of 15 metres in length or above that is carrying oil or a noxious liquid substance:

(i)  any damage, failure or breakdown of the ship that affects the safety of the ship, including but not limited to any collision, grounding, fire, explosion, structural failure, flooding or cargo shifting, or

(ii)  any damage, failure or breakdown of the ship that results in impairment of the safety of navigation, including but not limited to, failure or breakdown of steering gear, propulsion plant, electrical generating system, and essential shipborne navigational aids,

(e)  in relation to a large ship that has on board a sewage treatment system, any damage, failure or breakdown of the ship’s sewage treatment system that could result in the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewage.

Division 2 Master’s obligations


87   Master must report reportable incident

(Article I (1) of Protocol I of MARPOL) (cf former Act ss 10 (1) and 20 (1))


(1)  The master of a ship must, without delay, report any reportable incident that occurs in State waters in relation to the ship to the Minister in the manner prescribed by the regulations.

Maximum penalty: $121,000.

(2)  In a prosecution of a person for an offence against subsection (1), it is a defence if the person proves that the person was unable to comply with that subsection.


88   Master must provide supplementary report if Minister requires it

(Article IV (b) of Protocol I of MARPOL) (cf former Act ss 10 (6) and 20 (6))


The master of a ship must provide a supplementary report to the Minister in relation to the reportable incident within the time prescribed by the regulations and in accordance with the regulations if the Minister requests such a report.

Maximum penalty: $121,000.


89   Master must provide supplementary report if further developments arise

(Article IV (b) of Protocol I of MARPOL)


The master of the ship must provide a further supplementary report to the Minister within the time prescribed by the regulations and in accordance with the regulations if any significant further developments arise in relation to the reportable incident after a report or supplementary report was required under this Division.

Maximum penalty: $121,000.


Appendix B

International Dangerous Goods Code


Class 1:    Explosives


                   Division 1.1:      substances and articles which have a mass explosion hazard

                   Division 1.2:      substances and articles which have a projection hazard but not a mass explosion hazard

                   Division 1.3:      substances and articles which have a fire hazard and either a minor blast hazard or a minor projection hazard or both, but not a mass explosion hazard

                   Division 1.4:      substances and articles which present no significant hazard

                   Division 1.5:      very insensitive substances which have a mass explosion hazard

                   Division 1.6:      extremely insensitive articles which do not have a mass explosion hazard




Class 2:    Gases


                   Class 2.1:           flammable gases

                   Class 2.2:           non-flammable, non-toxic gases

                   Class 2.3:           toxic gases





Class 3:    Flammable liquids





Class 4:    Flammable solids; substances liable to spontaneous combustion; substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases


                   Class 4.1:           flammable solids, self-reactive substances and desensitized explosives

                   Class 4.2:           substances liable to spontaneous combustion

                   Class 4.3:           substances which, in contact with water, emit flammable gases




Class 5:    Oxidizing substances and organic peroxides


                   Class 5.1:           oxidizing substances

                   Class 5.2:           organic peroxides




Class 6:    Toxic and infectious substances


                   Class 6.1:           toxic substances

                   Class 6.2:           infectious substances




Class 7:    Radioactive material




Class 8:    Corrosive substances




Class 9:    Miscellaneous dangerous substances and articles


The numerical order of the classes and divisions is not that of the degree of danger.




Marine Pollutants And Wastes







Many of the substances assigned to classes 1 to 9 are deemed as being marine pollutants. Certain marine pollutants have an extreme pollution potential and are identified as severe marine pollutants.


Wastes should be transported under the provisions of the appropriate class, considering their hazards and the criteria in the Code. Wastes not otherwise subject to the Code but covered under the Basel Convention* may be transported under class 9. Alternatively, the classification may be in accordance with other provisions.


*        Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (1989).


For packing purposes, substances of all classes, other than classes 1, 2, 5.2, 6.2 and 7 and the self-reactive substances of class 4.1, are assigned to three packing groups in accordance with the degree of danger presented by the substance. The packing groups have the following meanings:


Packing group I:         Substances presenting high danger;

Packing group II:        Substances presenting medium danger; and

Packing group III:       Substances presenting low danger.


The packing group to which a substance is assigned is indicated in the Dangerous Goods List.


Dangerous goods are determined to present one or more of the dangers represented by classes 1 to 9, marine pollutants and, if applicable, the degree of danger (packing group) on the basis of the provisions.


Dangerous goods presenting a danger of a single class or division are assigned to that class or division and the packing group, if applicable, determined. When an article or substance is specifically listed by name in the Dangerous Goods List, its class or division, its subsidiary risk(s) and, when applicable, its packing group are taken from this list.


Dangerous goods meeting the defining criteria of more than one hazard class or division and which are not listed by name in the Dangerous Goods List are assigned to a class or division and subsidiary risk(s) on the basis of the precedence of hazard provisions prescribed.


Marine pollutants and severe marine pollutants are noted in the Dangerous Goods List and identified in the Index.


Dangerous Goods shipped by sea must be described by their trade name and technical name


A vessel carrying dangerous goods must have on board a Dangerous Cargo Manifest.


















Form MO-4111



Marine Orders, Part 41 (Cargo and Cargo Handling - Dangerous Goods)



Shipper (Name and address)


Container No………………………………………..





* To………………………………………………….

                           (Prescribed person)






Port of ……………………………………………….



Port of loading

Date of shipment



Port of discharge

Final destination

Marks and numbers

Number, kind and size of packages

Quantity and description of goods including correct technical name (proper shipping name), UN Number, class and flashpoint (if any)

Gross mass










* Marine Orders, Part 41 (Cargo and Cargo

Handling - Dangerous Goods) provides:


‘5.4 - Prescribed person

For the purposes of section 255 of the Navigation Act and 5.1,

the prescribed person is:








if it is intended to ship the goods at the port of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Port Adelaide or Fremantle, the person for the time being performing the duties of the office of Assistant Director in the Regional Office of the Department for the region in which the port is situated;


if it is intended to ship the goods at the port of Hobart the person for the time being performing the duties of Assistant Director (Tasmania) in the Regional Office of the Department;


if it is intended to ship the goods at a port in the State of Tasmania other than the port of Hobart, the Departmental representative at the port, or the person referred to in 5.4 (b); or


if it is intended to ship the goods at a port in a State or Territory other than a port referred to in 5.4 (a), (b) or (c), the Departmental representative at the port, or the person for the time being performing the duties of the office of Assistant Director in the Regional Office of the Department for the region in which the port is situated.’


Appendix C

Case Studies- Oil Spills


Major Oil Spills in Australia


Australia has been fortunate not to have experienced a catastrophic oil spill from a ship. A number of significant oil spills have occurred however, and these are listed below.


A brief summary on each spill is provided below.





Oil amount


Korean Star

Cape Cuvier WA

600 tonnes


Al Qurain

Portland VIC

184 tonnes


Arthur Phillip

Cape Otway VIC



Sanko Harvest

Esperance WA

700 tonnes




17,280 tonnes



Port Bonython SA

300 tonnes


Iron Baron

Hebe Reef TAS

325 tonnes


Mobil Refinery

Port Stanvac SA

230 tonnes


Laura D’Amato

Sydney NSW

250 tonnes



Brief information on spills


Korean Star - Western Australia, May 1988


A major incident in Western Australia occurred when the bulk carrier Korean Star grounded in the vicinity of Cape Cuvier, within the port limits of Carnarvon. The vessel went aground on 20 May 1988 as a result of cyclonic weather conditions, which caused it to drag its anchor. The Korean Star was declared a constructive total loss after it broke in two following the grounding. About 600 tonnes of fuel oil were lost from the vessel.


Al Qurain - Victoria, July 1988


On 28 July 1988, the livestock carrier Al Qurain struck a wharf heavily while berthing in Portland, Victoria, and severely ruptured a side fuel tank. An estimated 184 tonnes of fuel oil escaped into Portland Harbour. Clean-up operations were successful in recovering virtually all the oil other than a residue coating wharf piles.


Arthur Phillip - Victoria, May 1990


On 21 May 1990, an extensive oil slick was sighted approximately 4-5 nautical miles South East of Cape Otway, Victoria, by the pilot of a light aircraft. On 23 May 1990 first reports were received of oil coming ashore and of dead or oiled penguins. The spill ultimately killed or seriously affected over 200 fairy penguins. While some beach clean-up was carried out following this incident, the major costs were incurred in monitoring the spill and cleaning and care of wildlife.


Investigations into the source of the spill were initiated and the Australian registered oil tanker Arthur Phillip was found to be responsible for the spill. The owners and the master were prosecuted and fined.


Sanko Harvest - Western Australia, February 1991


The Sanko Harvest struck a reef off Esperance, Western Australia on 14 February 1991. The vessel was initially considered salvageable, however further damage caused by the reef rendered the vessel beyond salvage. The ship broke up over the next two weeks and released its cargo of 30,000 tonnes of soluble fertiliser and bunkers of some 700 tonnes (mainly heavy fuel oil). The majority of the fuel brought up on the beaches of Cape Le Grand National Park. Action to limit pollution in this incident was restricted by the open ocean conditions and inclement weather to the application of dispersants to concentrated oil in the vicinity of the ship. Foreshore clean-up operations continued for over 9 weeks.


Kirki - Western Australia, July 1991


On 21 July 1991 the Greek tanker Kirki lost its bow off the coast of Western Australia. During the incident and the subsequent tow to a safe haven some 17,280 tonnes of light crude was lost. Serious pollution of the West Australian coast was avoided due to the dual combination of severe weather conditions and the effects of the Leeuwin Current in dispersing the 7,900 tonnes of oil lost during the initial stages of the spill off Cervantes and Jurien Bay.


Era - South Australia, August 1992


On 30 August 1992 a bunker fuel tank of the Australian oil tanker Era was ruptured by the bow of the tug Turmoil during berthing operations at Port Bonython during high winds. Some 300 tonnes of bunker fuel were released into Spencer Gulf. Soon after the spill, spraying of dispersant commenced. An oily sheen impacted the mangroves and a number of small creeks to the south-west of Port Pirie. Clean-up of the mangrove proved difficult. No vehicular access was available and small craft could only work in the mangroves when the tide was suitable. The oil remaining in the mangroves was left to degrade naturally, as environmental advice at the time recommended that greater damage would result from attempting clean-up action.


Iron Baron - Tasmania, July 1995


The 37 500 dwt BHP-chartered bulk carrier Iron Baron grounded on Hebe Reef in the approaches to the Tamar River in northern Tasmania at 7.30 pm on Monday 10 July 1995. The vessel lost in the region of 325 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, much of which affected foreshores along the Tamar River estuary and some beaches to the east of Hebe Reef.


Mobil Refinery - South Australia, June 1999


On the morning 28 June 1999, a discharge occurred from an offshore loading connection to the Mobil Port Stanvac Refinery in South Australia. Approximately 230 tonnes of Oman crude was discharged 2 nautical miles offshore.


Laura D’Amato - New South Wales, August 1999


On the evening of 3 August 1999 following an incident on the tanker Laura D’Amato, 250 tonnes of Murban crude oil spilled into Sydney Harbour.