The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships is better known as the MARPOL Convention or just MARPOL.
The MARPOL Convention is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. It is a combination of two treaties adopted in 1973 and 1978 respectively and also includes the Protocol of 1997 (Annex VI). It has been updated by amendments through the years.
The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) was adopted on 2 November 1973 at IMO and covered pollution by oil, chemicals, harmful substances in packaged form, sewage and garbage. The Protocol of 1978 relating to the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (1978 MARPOL Protocol) was adopted at a Conference on Tanker Safety and Pollution Prevention in February 1978 held in response to a spate of tanker accidents in 1976-1977. As the 1973 MARPOL Convention had not yet entered into force, the 1978 MARPOL Protocol absorbed the parent Convention. The combined instrument is referred to as the International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78), and it entered into force on 2 October 1983 (Annexes I and II). In 1997 a Protocol was adopted to add a new Annex VI.
MARPOL includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships—both accidental pollution and that from routine operations—and currently includes six technical Annexes. All six Annexes are included in a "consolidated" volume which incorporates amendments made to the convention.
An additional volume has been published containing only Annex VI along with the NOx Technical Code, which provides technical guidance for complying with MARPOL Annex VI.