Special Areas under MARPOL

Latest Version

In Annex I Prevention of pollution by oil, Annex II Control of pollution by noxious liquid substances, Annex IV Prevention of pollution by sewage from ships and Annex V Prevention of pollution by garbage from ships, MARPOL defines certain sea areas as "special areas" in which, for technical reasons relating to their oceanographical and ecological condition and to their sea traffic, the adoption of special mandatory methods for the prevention of sea pollution is required. Under the Convention, these special areas are provided with a higher level of protection than other areas of the sea.

Annex VI Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships establishes certain sulphur oxide (SOx) Emission Control Areas with more stringent controls on sulphur emissions.


Special areas under MARPOL are as follows:































# Status of multilateral conventions and instruments in respect of which the International Maritime Organization or its Secretary-General perform depositary or other functions as at 31th December 2002.

* The Special Area requirements for these areas have not yet taken effect because of lack of notifications from MARPOL Parties whose coastlines border the relevant special areas on the existence of adequate reception facilities (regulations 38.6 of MARPOL Annex I and 5(4) of MARPOL Annex V).

** The entry into force is subject to the amendments being accepted by Parties by 1 July 2012.



This extract comes from the International Maritime Organization website

Adoption, entry into force & date of taking effect of Special Areas
Special Areas Adopted # Date of Entry into Force In Effect From
Annex I: Oil
Mediterranean Sea 2nd November 1973 2nd October 1983 2nd October 1983
Baltic Sea 2nd November 1973 2nd October 1983 2nd October 1983
Black Sea 2nd November 1973 2nd October 1983 2nd October 1983
Red Sea 2nd November 1973 2nd October 1983 *
"Gulfs" Area 2nd November 1973 2nd October 1983 1st August 2008
Gulf of Aden 2nd November 1973 1st April 1989 *
Antarctic Area 16th November 1990 17th March 1992 17th March 1992
North West European Waters 25th September 1997 1st February 1999 1st August 1999
Oman area of the Arabian Sea 15th October 2004 1st January 2007 *
Southern South African waters 13th October 2006 1st March 2008 1st August 2008
Annex II: Noxious Liquid Substances
Antartic Sea 30th October 1992 1st July 1994 1st July 1994
Annex IV: Sewage
Baltic Sea 15th July 2011 1st January 2013 **
Annexe V: Garbage
Mediterannean Sea Mediterranean Sea 2nd November 1972 31th December 1988 1st May 2009
Baltic Sea 2nd November 1972 31th December 1988 1st October 1989
Black Sea 2nd November 1972 31th December 1988 *
Red Sea 2nd November 1972 31th December 1988 *
"Gulfs" area 2nd November 1972 31th December 1988 1st August 2008
North Sea 17th October 1989 18th February 1991 18th February 1991
Antartctic area (south of latitude 60 degrees south) 16th November 1990 17th March 1992 17th March 1989
Wider Caribbean region including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea 4th July 1991 4th April 1993 1st May 2011
Annex VI: Prevention of air pollution by ships (Emission Control Areas)
Baltic Sea (SOx) 26th September 1997 19th May 2005 19 May 2006
North Sea (SOx) 22nd July 2005 22nd November 2006 22 Nov 2007
North American (Sox, Nox and PM) 26th March 2010 1st August 2011 1st August 2012
United States Caribbean Sea ECA (Sox, Nox, and PM) 26th July 2011 1st January 2013 1st January 2014