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​The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) aims to prevent and minimize pollution from ships, both accidental pollution and that from routine operations. It was adopted on 2 November 1973 at IMO, and later updated in 1978 after several severe tanker accidents. 

It applies to:
  • all ships flying the flag of a State member of the Convention or operating within its jurisdiction
  • vessels of any type operating in the marine environment including hydrofoil boats, air-cushion vehicles, submersible, floating craft and fixed or floating platforms.


MARPOL 73/78 has actually six technical Annexes, each addressing a potential source of pollution from ships:
  • Annex I - Oil pollution (crude oil, fuel oil)
  • Annex II – Noxious liquid substances carried in bulk pollution
  • Annex III – Harmful substances carried in packaged form pollution
  • Annex IV – Sewage pollution
  • Annex V – Garbage pollution
  • Annex VI – Air pollution (Ozone Depleting Substances, Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulphur Oxides (SOx), Volatile Organic Compounds).


RINA SERVICES is authorized to act on behalf of about 100 Flag Administrations, to inspect and certify vessels compliance with MARPOL requirements. We have always been committed to environment protection with a wide range of services, additional class notations and software tools to enhance vessels’ environmental performance, and supporting the voluntary anticipated adoption of upcoming environmental regulations.


The main certificates a vessel shall carry to show compliance with MARPOL Annexes are:
  • IOPP (International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate)
  • ISPP(International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate)
  • IAPP(International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate)
  • NLS (International Pollution Prevention Certificate for the Carriage of Noxious Liquid Substances).

RINA SERVICES performs plan approval, initial and periodical surveys, and, when delegated, issues the relevant certificates on behalf of the Flag Administration.


Do ships under 400 GT have to comply with MARPOL Annex VI?
Yes. The regulations of MARPOL Annex VI apply to all ships, except where expressly provided. This means that even though the ship may not need an IAPP Certificate due to its tonnage, the regulations still have to be complied with.

Is it possible to perform MARPOL verifications at the same time as other statutory activities?
Yes, the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (HSSC) allows statutory surveys for different certificates to be carried out at the same time.

Are amendments to MARPOL retroactive?
Yes, they’re based on the Keel Laying date of the vessel, some amendments are applicable to existing ships.

Are specific training courses available?
RINA Academy provides training courses on international regulations, including the MARPOL convention. Please contact us for course calendars or to arrange a tailored made course for your personnel.​
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