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Suggested Citation:"Simplify Handling of Civil Cases." National Research Council. 1995. Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4769.
Page 199

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OVERARCHING ISSUES AFFECTING ANNEX V IMPLEMENTATION 199 Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) (North, 1993). The new policy was seen as consistent with authorities recognized under international law and as not requiring consent by the international community. However, the Coast Guard also stated that the United States did not intend to undertake enforcement actions with respect to violations taking place in international waters. Such actions would "disrupt the institutional arrangements and multinational agreements that led to the existing level of international cooperation" (Eastern Research Group, 1992). Principles of jurisdiction articulated in Article 218 of the 1982 Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) establish that a port state may take action against foreign-flag vessels that violate applicable international rules and standards—even when the violation takes place beyond the port state's EEZ. Thus, to date, the United States has chosen not to exercise the full complement of enforcement authorities recognized under international law. The broad context, including the impact on legal precedents for U.S. enforcement with respect to violations taking place on the high seas, would need to be examined. The DOS could review this issue as part of the federal effort to enhance the effectiveness of U.S. enforcement of Annex V. In addition, the United States could examine with other nations the rights and responsibilities of port states to initiate actions against foreign-flag vessels. Through the appropriate diplomatic channels, clear rules could be developed so that port states can exercise fully and efficiently their jurisdictional authorities in a manner that assures compliance with the international standards set forth in Annex V and general principles of international law. Simplify Handling of Civil Cases The Coast Guard is experimenting with a simplified enforcement procedure for civil cases involving oil discharges that violate the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) (P.L. 80-845), as amended.3 The committee believes this procedure might prove useful in enforcing Annex V. In the pilot project, conducted in three ports4, alleged violators of the FWPCA were issued a Notice of Violation, similar to a traffic ticket, containing a proposed penalty. A penalty was assessed if an investigation established the elements of a civil case. The violator then had the option of paying the fine within 30 days, requesting a determination by a hearing officer, or not responding at all, in which case the file was sent to the 3 The Interim Final Rule (59 Fed. Reg. 16,558 [1994]) took effect April 7, 1994. The procedures, which are related to FWPCA Section 309(g)(2)(A), apply only to discharges of less than 100 gallons of oil. 4 The six-month pilot program was initiated in the spring of 1994 in the ports of Charleston, South Carolina; Galveston, Texas; and Los Angeles, California.

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Marine debris is a serious environmental problem. To do its part, the United States has agreed to abide by the international treaty for garbage control at sea, known as MARPOL 73/78 Annex V.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans explores the challenge of translating Annex V into workable laws and regulations for all kinds of ships and boats, from cruise ships to fishing crafts and recreational boats. The volume examines how existing resources can be leveraged into a comprehensive strategy for compliance, including integrated waste management systems and effective enforcement.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans describes both progress toward and obstacles to Annex V compliance. The book covers:

  • How shipborne garbage orignates and what happens to garbage discharged into the seas.
  • Effects of discharge on human health, wildlife safety, and aesthetics.
  • Differences in perspective among military, industrial, and recreational seafarers and shoreside facilities.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans will be important to marine policymakers, port administrators, ship operations officers, maritime engineers, and marine ecologists.

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