Sep 13, 2012

Cleaner ships for cleaner seas

The Parliament today passed legislation which will reduce pollution from ships and protect our precious marine environment.

From 1 January next year, improved energy efficiency targets will apply to new ships and larger ships will be required to set out how energy savings will be made.

The Maritime Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 implements amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) adopted by the International Maritime Organization last July.

The Bill makes mandatory the Energy Efficiency Design Index for new ships of 400 gross tonnage and over that will be built on or after 1 January 2013 for international trade. New ships can meet energy efficiency targets through improved hull design and more energy efficient engines.

It also makes mandatory a Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan for all ships of that size. Energy savings can be achieved through speed optimisation and hull maintenance.

Passenger ships operating in designated ‘special areas’ will also face new restrictions relating to the discharge of sewage and the disposal of garbage in environmentally sensitive areas.

The Bill builds on this Government’s record of ensuring that the laws that protect Australia’s precious marine environment are up to date and remain in step with international developments.

It builds on a suite of bills the Government has already introduced into the Parliament that collectively represent the most significant overhaul of Australia’s maritime industry since it was established in 1912.

We have introduced the National Law Bill to establish a single National Marine Safety Regulator in Australia and the Navigation Bill that modernises the 100 year old Navigation Act.

The Government’s Stronger Shipping for a Stronger Economy legislative reforms, including an Australian International Shipping Register and fiscal incentives, commenced on 1 July and will revitalise Australia’s shipping industry.

By strengthening the laws that protect our pristine marine environment, we’re doing all we can to protect our waters and fragile environmental assets for future generations.