Shipping, boats and marine pollution

Ship docked at the pier
Ship docked at the pier

Many of us love visiting our beaches, rivers and coastal waters. We can play on the beach, go swimming, surfing, snorkelling or scuba diving. Others go sailing or power boating or recreational fishing. 

Thousands of Australians as well as foreign seafarers work on ships carrying cargoes into and out of our ports. Others work on oil rigs drilling for oil on the North West Shelf while others work on fishing boats. There are many jobs around our 37,000 kms coastline.

Whether we use the sea for our leisure or work we all have a big responsibility to protect the seas and oceans. We must  keep them free from pollution. Australia has some of the world’s best beaches and the most amazing marine habitats. We must all make sure they stay that way.

A lot of people think all the pollution in the sea comes from ships and fishing vessels. Experts have calculated that about 80 % of marine pollution comes from the land.

There remain some ships that break the law and illegally discharge oil into the sea as well as dump rubbish at sea. When they get caught they face huge fines that can be millions of dollars. It is good that the majority of ships do the right thing and only discharge waste in accordance with international regulations.

Here are some of the things ships and boats are allowed to do which helps protect the sea from pollution:

A ship's engine room bilge

Avoiding fuel oil going into the sea

Ship's rubbish and age

Waste from fishers

Recreational boating, litter and fishing tackle

AUSMEPA's ship members

Marine pollution prevention regulations