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Abstract

The 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and the Protocol of 1978 Relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78) seek to protect the world’s oceans from environmental harms. Traditional maritime law, principles of international law, and difficulties in detecting violations of MARPOL 73/78 have made it difficult for nations to enforce the strict requirements regarding oil pollution under Annex I. In light of these difficulties, the United States authorities have used other means under United States law to prosecute these violations. This note argues that while the United States’ increased enforcement is controversial it is necessary in order to ensure that MARPOL 73/78 is effective and to protect the world’s oceans from environmental disaster.

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