Shipping and the Environment: A Code of Practice Book


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Shipping and the Environment: A Code of Practice Book

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SKU: BP103768

This document outlines the environmental responsibilities that shipping companies must adhere to under global regulations. It provides a set of well-defined environmental guidelines that shipping companies are expected to follow.



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Shipping and the Environment: A Code of Practice 


This publication summarises the environmental obligations of shipping companies as required by international regulations. It includes a set of clear environmental standards by which shipping companies should operate. 


The purpose of this Code of Practice is to: 

  1. a) provide a framework for the development and continuing review of environmental management standards and practices to be incorporated into the corporate culture and management procedures of shipping companies; and
  2. b) identify specific subjects of environmental concern upon which companies should focus.

It also contains general information about the overall environmental performance of the international shipping industry and addresses potential sources of pollution from ships, including oil, chemicals, garbage, ballast water and anti-fouling paints, as well as potential sources of atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. 


Shipping is the safest and most environmentally friendly form of commercial transport. Nevertheless, many of the cargoes transported by sea, such as oil and chemicals, are potentially damaging to the environment, which (in addition to the protection of life at sea) is why maritime safety is always paramount. 

It has been recognised that the human factor plays a large part in incidents of marine pollution and other forms of environmental damage. Personnel, both ashore and at sea, should be provided with clear directions, guidance and standards in order to limit to the greatest extent possible any adverse impact to the environment caused by human activity. 


The cornerstone of good management is a commitment from the top. It is, therefore, essential that senior management provides directions, guidance and standards that are: 

  • consistent with international and national law and with relevant industry codes of practice; 
  • realistic, practical and easy to follow; 
  • understood by all personnel; and 
  • evaluated, reviewed and updated on a regular basis. 


Practices and standards designed to limit the impact of company operations on the environment should not be implemented in isolation but should be closely linked with other operating standards, including standards of safe navigation and safety of life. 

Equally important, ships are properly equipped to allow and encourage environmental protection. From the moment it is decided to construct a ship, efforts should be made to ensure that its design and equipment are, so far as reasonable, in keeping with the latest technology regarding the protection of the environment. 

No discharge to the sea should be permitted from a ship unless consistent with legislation and with good practice. 

The International Chamber of Shipping and its member national shipowners’ associations are committed to a zero-tolerance approach to any non-compliance with the IMO MARPOL Convention. 



Contents Listing:

Part 1: The environmental performance of international shipping 

Part 2: Principles of environmental management 

Part 3: Measures to tackle sources of pollution 

Part 4: Environmental standards 


Annexe 1: Key IMO conventions and codes for the protection of the marine environment 

Annexe 2: Recommended industry publications 

Annexe 3: Shipping industry guidance on environmental compliance 




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