Offering the highest levels
of personalized services, we treat clients like family.

Developments in maritime law in 2021

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2021 | Uncategorized |

Maritime law often involves working with international organizations. Here are current events regarding new developments in technology, regulation, and enforcement that could impact Texas residents who work in maritime occupations.

International developments

The Marine Development Protection Committee initiated amendments to the International Conventions for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships Annex VI. What’s included are operational and technical requirements that improve ship energy efficiency. The initiatives will hit targets that were established during the 2018 Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions From Ships.

These and other amendments are set to launch in November 2022. CII and EEXI certifications will come into effect in January 2022.

U.S. developments

In 2007, the U.S. Coast Guard established a policy for operators and owners of foreign-flag vessels that choose to self-disclose possible MARPOL criminal violations. Under the policy, for owners or operators who satisfy requirements and report a violation, no disclosing entity gets charged with breaking maritime law.

Biden administration urges IMO to accelerate decarbonization shipping

In April 2021, John Kerry, the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, said that the U.S. intends to work with IMO countries to adopt objectives in order to achieve zero emissions from international shipping. The long-term goal is to do this within 30 years. The U.S. is being proactive and participating in MEPC’s 76th Session where MAPOL Annex VI amendments saw negotiations.


A California jury determined that an oil tankship first engineer was guilty of helping to intentionally waste bilge into the Pacific. The defendant was charged with violating three maritime laws after commanding crew members of the M/T Zao Galaxy to discharge only oily bile water. The sentence was three years of probation, a $2,500 fine, and 200 hours of community service.

The U.S. Attorney sees the verdict as a forerunner for bringing federal charges against crew members linked to similar maritime law incidents. Individuals involved in marine industries may want to keep up on news about these kinds of issues as they unfold.