Global ship waste rules tiptoe into force

Marpol convention annex on sewage management to become law quarter of a century late

UN rules aimed at preventing ships from discharging sewage at sea are set to take effect 25 years after they were agreed by members of the International maritime organisation (IMO). Annex IV of the Marpol convention on marine pollution will enter into force in September 2003, the IMO said in a statement. Its requirements will apply from entry into force for most new ships, but not until 2008 for most existing ones.

Norway began the countdown to entry into force last month when its ratification took the share of the world's merchant fleet represented by countries that had approved the Marpol annex IV past 50%. Norway was the 88th country to ratify, easily exceeding the threshold of 15 ratifications also necessary for entry into force.

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