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 Home > News & Policies > May 2003

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 15, 2003

Message to the Senate of the United States


I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to its ratification, the Protocol of 1997 to Amend the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as Modified by the Protocol of 1978 thereto (hereinafter the "Protocol of 1997"). The Protocol of 1997, which would add Annex VI, Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships, to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as Modified by the Protocol of 1978 (hereinafter the "MARPOL Convention"), was signed by the United States on December 22, 1998. I also enclose, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State and its attached analysis of the Protocol of 1997, as well as Resolution 2 of the 1997 MARPOL Conference with its annexed Technical Code on Control of Emission of Nitrogen Oxides from Marine Diesel Engines.

The MARPOL Convention is the global agreement to control pollution from ships. MARPOL Annex VI regulates the emission into the atmosphere of specified pollutants from ships. It complements the other annexes to the MARPOL Convention, which relate to the transport of oil (Annex I), harmful substances carried in bulk (Annex II), harmful substances in packaged form (Annex III), ship-generated sewage (Annex IV) and garbage (Annex V). The United States is a party to all of these annexes with the exception of Annex IV.

MARPOL Annex VI regulates the prevention of air pollution from ships by limiting the discharge of nitrogen oxides from large marine diesel engines, governing the sulfur content of marine diesel fuel, prohibiting the emission of ozone-depleting substances, regulating the emission of volatile organic compounds during the transfer of cargoes between tankers and terminals, setting standards for shipboard incinerators and fuel oil quality, and establishing requirements for platforms and drilling rigs at sea.

MARPOL Annex VI is an important step toward controlling and preventing emissions of harmful air pollutants from ships. U.S. ratification of the Protocol of 1997 will demonstrate U.S. commitment to an international solution and should hasten the entry into force of the Protocol of 1997. Ratification will also enhance our ability to work within the treaty framework to obtain subsequent amendments that will require further reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides that are now achievable through the use of modern control technologies which the United States strongly supports.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Protocol of 1997 and give its advice and consent to ratification, subject to the declarations and understanding set out in the accompanying report of the Secretary of State.



May 15, 2003.

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