Enforcement of MARPOL Annex VI Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Information Sheet
Enforcement of MARPOL Annex VI Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Information Sheet Resources
"Today’s agreement forges a strong partnership between EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard, advancing our shared commitment to enforce air emissions standards for ships operating in U.S. waters. Reducing harmful air pollution is a priority for EPA and by working with the Coast Guard we will ensure that the ships moving through our waters meet their environmental obligations, protecting our nation’s air quality and the health of our coastal communities." -
(Washington, DC - June 27, 2011) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) today announced an agreement to jointly enforce U.S. and international air pollution requirements for vessels operating in U.S. waters. These requirements establish limits on nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and require the use of fuel with lower sulfur content, protecting people's health and the environment by reducing ozone-producing pollution, which can cause smog and aggravate asthma. The most stringent requirements apply to ships operating within 200 nautical miles of the coast of North America.
On this page:
- MARPOL Annex VI
- Annex VI Significant Provisions
- Annex VI MOU Provisions
- Health and Environmental Effects
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Coast Guard (USCG) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enforce Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).Annex VI of the MARPOL treaty is the main international treaty addressing air pollution prevention requirements from ships. It was implemented in the United States through the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, 33 U.S.C. §§ 1901 et seq., (APPS).
MARPOL was developed through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a United Nations agency that deals with maritime safety and security, as well as the prevention of marine pollution from ships. MARPOL is the main international agreement covering all types of pollution from ships.
Air pollution from ships is specifically addressed in Annex VI of the MARPOL treaty. Annex VI includes requirements applicable to the manufacture, certification, and operation of vessels and engines, as well as fuel quality used in vessels in the waters of the United States.
As implemented by APPS, Annex VI requirements comprise both engine-based and fuel-based standards, and apply to U.S. flagged ships wherever located and to non-U.S. flagged ships operating in U.S. waters.
- Annex VI establishes:
- Limits on nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from marine diesel engines with a power output of more than 130 kW. The standards apply to both main propulsion and auxiliary engines and require the engines to be operated in conformance with the Annex VI NOx emission limits.
- Limits on the sulfur content of marine fuels.
- Ships operating up to 200 nautical miles off of U.S. shores must meet the most advanced standards for NOx emissions and use fuel with lower sulfur content., This geographic area is designated under Annex VI as the North American Emission Control Area (ECA),
- Each regulated diesel engine in U.S. flagged vessels must have an Engine International Air Pollution Prevention (EIAPP) certificate, issued by EPA, to document that the engine meets Annex VI NOx standards. Certain vessels are also required to have an International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate (IAPP), which is issued by the USCG. Ship operators must also maintain records on board regarding their compliance with the emission standards, fuels requirements and other provisions of Annex VI.
- U.S. flagged vessels are subject to inspection for compliance with Annex VI. Non-U.S. flagged ships are subject to examination under Port State Control while operating in U.S. waters. The USCG or EPA may bring an enforcement action for a violation.
Annex VI and APPS contain oversight and enforcement provisions and violations may result in criminal and/or civil liability.
The Annex VI MOU provides that EPA and USCG will jointly and cooperatively enforce the provisions of Annex VI and APPS. Efforts to be conducted by USCG and EPA include inspections, investigations and enforcement actions if a violation is detected. The efforts to ensure compliance with Annex VI and APPS include oversight of marine fueling facilities, on board compliance inspections and record reviews.
Ocean going vessels emit significant pollution that not only effect populations living near ports and coastlines, but also those living hundreds of miles inland. Marine diesel engines generate significant emissions of NOx, fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and sulfur oxides (SOx) that contribute to nonattainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM2.5 and ozone.
These engines also emit hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and hazardous air pollutants or air toxics that are associated with adverse health effects. Emissions from these engines also cause harm to public welfare, and contribute to visibility impairment and other detrimental environmental impacts across the United States.
Large marine diesel engines are significant contributors to our national mobile source emission inventory and their contribution is expected to grow in the future. At the current rate, NOx emissions from ships are projected to more than double to 2.1 million tons a year while annual PM2.5 emissions are expected to almost triple to 170,000 tons a year by 2030.
Air Enforcement Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202 – 1129