Maritime Law

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Marine Pollution from Shipping Activities

Marine Pollution from Shipping Activities

Michael Tsimplis

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1 Introduction

Up to the early 1970s marine pollution from ships was in essence unregulated. In the name of business efficiency ships regularly cleaned their tanks en route, discharged their residues at sea and all rubbish overboard. This attitude was not assisted by the fact that the jurisdiction of coastal States extended only to territorial waters of, in general, three nautical miles from the coast. Pollution damage recovery for contaminated property was based on national law, in England in tort, and was not always easy to achieve.1 Today there is an extensive international legislative framework attempting to prevent or mitigate pollution2 at sea and reduce the degradation of the marine environment. The jurisdiction of the coastal States in respect of the protection of the marine environment has significantly expanded and technology, in particular, satellite observations, provide better opportunities for identifying malpractice resulting in marine pollution.

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