Our oceans are a precious source of food, transport, and enjoyment. Clean, safe oceans are vital to our livelihoods, our recreation and to protect marine flora and fauna.
World Oceans Day on Wednesday 8 June is a reminder that marine litter presents a huge problem in our oceans. Plastic pollution results in harmful effects on marine life and biodiversity, as well as negative impacts on human health, tourism and fisheries.
Rules for your garbage
There are some important rules for disposing of garbage that all vessel owners and operators must follow under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). MARPOL is implemented though Australian legislation and Marine Order 95—Marine pollution prevention—garbage.
Vessels over 12 metres must display a garbage sign or ‘placard’ that clearly notifies crew and passengers of laws associated with the discharge of garbage. Placards should be displayed on the vessel where they can be easily seen by crew and passengers.
Vessels of 100 gross tonnage and above or certified to carry 15 or more people must have a garbage management plan that includes written procedures for minimising, collecting, storing, processing and disposing of garbage. Vessels that are 400 gross tonnage and above and every ship certified to carry 15 or more people on international voyages must also maintain a garbage record book.
Garbage must be stored safely on board and disposed of, or recycled, on shore. Contact your local port authority, marina, boat harbour, port or terminal to find out what waste collection and disposal facilities are available.
Protect our oceans. Report a tosser!
You can help keep our seas clean by reporting any illegal dumping of rubbish or waste products such as oil. If you see someone dumping rubbish there is some information you can collect to help our investigation of the incident. Useful information includes:
- the name of the vessel responsible
- the time, date and location of the incident (distance from land, GPS coordinates)
- details of how much and what type of discharge, and
- other witnesses or vessels in the vicinity.
- If possible, take photographs or video images of the pollution, the vessel or person involved.
Report illegal dumping of rubbish or other substances to us on 1800 641 792 (free call), 02 6230 6811 or lodge an online report.
AMSA’s ongoing work to reduce marine pollution
AMSA is engaged in the ongoing work of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce marine pollution. Through the IMO, Australia and other countries have agreed on a strategy to address marine plastic litter. The strategy sets out ways to further reduce shipping's contribution to marine plastic litter and how to improve the effectiveness of port reception facilities.