Tools for Effective Environmental Compliance

NAMEPA's MARPOL guide can assist seafarers and shoreside personnel to better understand MARPOL regulations, why they are needed to preserve the marine environment, and how to better comply.

Goals & Objectives

The importance of effective environmental compliance programs in the maritime industry has been demonstrated time and time again over the past two decades, and while its record is immeasurably better, there remains room for improvement in compliance.

Compliance with environmental requirements remains a challenge for some ship operators, potentially resulting in damage to the marine environment. Further, the regulatory framework is getting more complex and demanding, not less, resulting in greater requirements placed on the shipping industry for compliance. 

Many maritime companies now take a proactive approach to environmental care. As a seafarer or port employee, you are asked to play an important role, because you are an essential part of the company performance and key factor in compliance. 

Through this comprehensive approach, seafarers and shoreside personnel will have a greater understanding of:

  • What MARPOL is
  • What is required
  • Why compliance is important for protecting the marine environment
  • What compliance looks like
  • Risks of non-compliance
  • Steps to be taken if non-compliance occurs along with reporting tools 
  • How to report violations 

You may begin using this resource by taking the Pre-Assessment. Once you complete the assessment, expand your knowledge by clicking Learn more to dive deeper into the marine environment and MARPOL.


Test your knowledge of MARPOL regulations, compliance, and the environment! This assessment is not a formal or government evaluation and will not be shared with outside parties. 


The Marine Environment

Over 70% of the world's surface is covered by ocean. The ocean is very important to all kinds of life, including humans. It provides food, oxygen, helps the climate, and is a source of money for many people. 

International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships

The shipping industry is working to reduce its impact on the marine environment. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) helps to create rules to prevent pollution caused by ships.

Impacts to the Marine Environment

In order to prevent pollution caused by ships, it is important to know the impacts marine pollution has on the environment. Click Learn more to explore how discharges at sea, emissions into the air, antifouling, invasive, species and ship recycling, and collisions between ships & whales impact the marine environment.  

Discharges at Sea

Most harm caused to the marine environment stems from daily operational emissions of substances from land- and ship-based sources. 

Antifouling, Invasive Species, & Ship Recycling

IMO conventions address antifouling systems used on ships, the transfer of alien species by ballast water and the environmentally sound recycling of ships.

Emission into the Air

Air pollution has been an important environmental issue since the 1970s.  Air pollution regulations for seagoing ships have been relatively recent. 

Collisions Between Ships & Whales

As international maritime traffic continues to grow and the speed of ships increases, the risk of collisions is also increasing, with serious consequences for species such as whales. 


A key aspect of MARPOL is compliance. As a seafarer or shoreside personnel, you are asked to play an important role, because you are an essential part of the company performance and a key factor in compliance. Click Learn more to understand why compliance is important, how it is enforced, and the steps to report non-compliance.

Compliance & Enforcement

Compliance is important in reducing the environmental impact of shipping on the marine environment. Compliance is also required by law and the right thing to do. By enforcing shipping regulations, shipping can be safe, sustainable, and fun.

Non-Compliance & Reporting Methods

It is important to report a situation that you believe has violated MARPOL. There are many options to report non-compliance with MARPOL, including within your company or outside the company. 


Throughout these lessons you have expanded your knowledge on the marine environment, MARPOL regulations, compliance and tools to report non-compliance. You play a critical important role in the maritime industry as you are part of the company performance and a key factor in compliance.  Complete the assessment below to attest your commitment to OPERATION: COMPLIANCE.   

Assess Your Knowledge!

Once you have completed each lesson, complete the assessment on MARPOL regulations, compliance, and the environment.  


Download the MARPOL flyer to share the importance of protecting the marine environment with your team. 

NAMEPA has developed the Operation: Compliance program to help seafarers better understand MARPOL regulations and the need for MARPOL compliance. This program is being delivered to seafarers and shoreside personnel in Massachusetts. This program is made possible through a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

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