The ozone layer is the most important protection zone in the atmosphere of the earth. Having a molecular formula O3, the element in the ozone layer is well-known for absorbing the ultra-violet rays emitted by the sun and thus protecting the earth from harmful radiation effects. In the past three decades, owing to the superfluous usage of substances that contain Chloro-Fluoro Carbons (CFCs), it has become a widespread knowledge that the layer is depleting, which could cause severe problems not just for humans but also for plants and animals as well.
Considering the precariousness of the oceanic environment, a MARPOL regulation referred to as the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships has been put into active force from the 19th March 2005. Under this regulation, all ships that have a gross tonnage of over 400 tons and have been constructed prior to this date have to have an International Air Pollution Prevention (IAPP) certificate. This certification will be issued by the officials in the administration department of the country to which the ship belongs.
A survey is carried out to determine the maintaining of stipulations prescribed by the MARPOL regulation pertaining to hazardous components like ozone depleting substances along with other pollutants. Based on this primary survey, the certification is awarded to a ship. Detailed below is a list of ozone depleting substances that are categorically stated in the MARPOL extension.
- Stipulation 12: Ozone Depletion Substances
– CFCs: These include Trichlorofluoromethane (CFC11), Dichlorodifluoromethane (CFC12) and Chloropentafluoroethane (CFC15)
– Halon (Organic Compound): These include two sub-categories where the first category compounds have been banned from being used in ships with a construction date of 19th May 1995 and the second category compounds have been banned from being used in ships with a construction date of 1st January 2020
The first type compounds are R11 to R13, R111 to R115 and R211 to R217 while some of the second type compounds include R21, R22, R31 and R271.
– Methyl Chloroform
– Methyl Bromide
If the ozone depleting substances from ships are found to emitting the toxic fumes into the waters either during repair or maintenance work, they shall be brought under the purview of the Parties to the Protocol (1997) governance. Also these kinds of discharges of the ozone depleting substances from ships are regarded to be as being deliberate and therefore merit stringent disciplinary action.
Also in accordance with this protocol, all the governments whose countries are a part of this protocol need to have a proper facility (stipulation 17) to ensure that the gadgets and devices containing ozone depleting substances are repaired or removed entirely without causing any unwanted detaining to the operation of the vessels.
As Per MARPOL Annex VI, an ozone depleting substance record book to be kept and maintained onboard.
Apart from the ozone depletion substances, the other pollutants listed in the MARPOL regulations’ extension are:
- Oxides of Nitrogen (Stipulation 13)
- Oxides of Sulphur (Stipulation 14)
- Organic Compounds volatile in nature (Stipulation 15)
Due to the availability of the list of ozone depleting substances and the proper maintenance facilities, a substantial contribution to save the fast-depleting ozone layer has been undertaken. It is only by these proactive measures that we can help to ensure a better and safer planet for the generations of civilisations to come.