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Case Study Oil Pollution In Malaysia

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 5255 words Published: 11th May 2017

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Nowadays maritime operations have been seriously affected by the environmental issues. The environmental issues have become the challenges for shipping. Marine companies, ship owners, port operators, shipyard, bunker, dealers are now giving the concern to the maritime cleanliness. Marine environmental issues include the matters such as oil pollution, prevention to control of funnel emissions and from the dumping of rubbish to use of antifouling.

The impacts of shipping and ports on the marine environment have brought an interest to the community. Even though shipping industry always seen as “environmental friendly”, however, they still contribute to pollution. Shipping industry is seen as “environmental friendly” because the impact of pollution brought by shipping is much lesser than the road and also air.

In the year 1990, 12% of marine pollutants estimated were caused by the marine transport. The impacts that brought by shipping and port activities are through operational and also accidents. These impacts may lead to wide range of marine habitats. So, legislation regarding environmental and also shipping activities is set to increase in the next ten years to minimize the risk that brought by port activities.

In our paper, we will outline:

Cases that regard marine environmental issue

Consequences of shipping on the environment

Laws and regulations and also maritime organizations in minimizing the marine environment problem


The marine pollution has now become a crucial issue that drawn the concerns of many countries. This issue was seen as it will generate a great negative effect towards living creatures on the earth. There are many sources that contributed to marine pollution, which mostly are the land-based sources and vessel-based. So, to proceed into deeper understanding on marine pollution, our focus would be on the vessel-based or sea transportation as one of the causes to the marine pollution.

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To talk about the sea transportation, it eventually referring to marine transport and the activities at ports. Cargo and oil ports usually are not the major cause to the pollution. However, it only occurred when there are the shipping accidents, oil spills and so on. Especially to the busiest traffic route, accidents tend to happen frequently. It cannot be blame that the water shipping is now increasing due to more and more open trade in international level. When there is the open trade, more trade activities between nations occur, therefore in order to deliver those goods, people prefer to choose water transport, as it is less expensive than other kind of transportation. Hence, more vessels are operating to fulfill those requests. As the consequences, more vessels indicate the increasing of the possibilities of the accidents may occur and more pollution.

For instance, the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea is the major commercial shipping route between the India Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The Straits of Malacca is exposed to a serious vessel-based marine pollution due to heavy volume of shipping passing through it. From the annual report of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, it stated that in 2010, there are more than 75000 vessels passed through the Straits. Thus, those vessels that passed through are believed to discharge the pollutants that make significant to marine pollution such as oil and grease into the water from the activities of tank cleaning, bilging, deballasting and bunkering.

Table 1.0 on below presents that the number of vessels that stop by the major ports along the Straits of Malacca from 2000 to 2002. From the statistics, Penang and Port Klang were the busiest ports compared to others.

Table 1.0 Number of Vessels by Major Ports in the Straits of Malacca (2001-2002)

































(Source retrieved from Marine Department, Malaysia)

Besides that, the oil pollution at the Malaysian coastal waters also may come from the vessel operation, tanker accidents, and oil exploration and so on. (Law, Ravinthar & Yeong, 1990). Since the arising of the number of vessels on the sea, it could not be help with the shipping accidents may come out as the heavy maritime traffic. During the period between 1975 and 1987, the shipping accidents that occurred in Malaysian water were more than ten cases. From those accidents, the calculation of the crude oil that spilled and released into marine environment was about 23,000 tons. In which, that amount of oil pollution was equivalent to an average of 150 ships per day that crossing the Straits of Malacca (Finn et al. 1979).

Table 2.0 Type of vessels that involved in accident in Malaysia (2008 to 2011)




































(Source retrieved from Marine Department, Malaysia)

Table 2.0 shows that the type of vessels that involved in accident from 2008 to 2011. From the statistics, it indicated the pollution that caused by the vessels at the same time.

As well as the activity that related to handling of crude oil and refined oil at the terminals and the port will also contribution to oil pollution, because in some circumstances, sometimes during the process of transferring the oil from an oil tanker to oil terminal will eventually cause the oil leaking and go into the sea. For example, the oil handling activities and heavy maritime tanker vessels that goes through the Straits of Malacca that cause the drop of quality of coastal waters at the Port Dickson (Law, Ravinthar & Yeong, 1990).

TABLE 3.0 Oil Spill Incidents in Malaysia Waters Year (1976-1997)


Name of Ship



Type and Quantity of Oil Spill



The Straits of Malacca


Fuel oil 60 tons



The South China Sea


Fuel oil 505 tons



The South China Sea


Crude oil 10000 tons



The Straits of Singapore


Crude oil 700 tons



The Straits of Malacca

Human Error

Fuel oil 1050 tons



The South China Sea

Human Error

Crude oil 700 tons



The Straits of Malacca




The Straits of Singapore


Crude oil 2000 tons



The Straits of Singapore


Crude oil 2329 tons



The Straits of Singapore




Near Medan, Indonesia


Crude oil 13000 tons



The Straits of Singapore


Fuel oil 25000 tons



The Straits of Malacca

Material Fatigue

Fuel oil 237 tons

(Source retrieved from Marine Department, Malaysia)

From the data, it shown the numerous of oil spill incidents happened in around Malaysia Waters. It indicated the seriousness of the marine pollution issue at the same time. Especially the crude oil is very difficult to clean up, and it may last for years in sediments. As the consequences of oil pollution, it develops huge impact to surroundings not only to marine ecosystem but also to all-kind living ecosystem either directly or indirectly as they are chain together and interdependent to each other.

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Therefore, in order to tackle down the oil pollution issue, there are many enactments that related to water transport were drafted by Malaysian government as an effort to reduce the issues. As the example, Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution) Act 1994, this act was introduced to impose punishment and civil liability in the form of payment compensation to any vessel that caused pollution damage within the area of Malaysia. For such, the owner of the ship will liable and subject to fines. At the same time, Malaysian government and other victims able to claimed compensation against the owner for the damage that caused. The oil pollution damages are include of the property damage, the clean-up cost at the sea and on-shore, as well as the economic loss such as marine culture industries and tourism sectors.

In the international level, MARPOL 73/78 is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ship. It was drafted to reduce the marine pollution, including dumping, oil and others. Its objective is to preserve the marine ecosystem through the complete elimination of oil pollution and other harmful substances and yet to minimize the accidental discharge of those pollutants. Hence, in this treaty, states that signed are bound to the obligation on preserving the marine ecosystem.

In a part of conclusion, the water transportation is considered to be related to environmental issue. Though it may be in minor interrelated but I believed it should be taken in great concern as the problems that created may develop great impacts to all. So, I think the awareness should be took place before a worst situation it can be developed into that could be out of control.

Case study: Sea Garbage

In this modern century, every things is going in the rapid rate, every country is try to develop become a modern and developed, wish to change from the developing country to developed country, this for sure that the technology keep on upgrade to achieve it. When the positive things happen, at the same time have the negative things happen, because of the technology keep on upgrading, on the same time the waste is keep on increasing too. The world is changing time by time, previously the world is not the world of today. This is also happening on the Sea. The sea of today is so polluted; here I would like to explain to some case about the sea and what is going on in the real situation.

First and foremost, I would like to says that the sea pollution is when the chemicals, particles, industrial, agricultural and residential waste, noise or the spread of invasive organisms get in to the ocean, is may cause to become potential harmful or harmful effects it happen the sea pollution. Later on I will discuss about how the ship release those rubbish in to the sea and how it affect the sea. Thos garbage will affect the whole ecosystem. We will show out a table about how many years needed for the garbage to digest. Garbage from ships can be just as deadly to marine life as oil or chemicals. This will affect the whole worlds not just the sea as well as our human being. Here I would like to talk about more how the sea gets polluted. The greatest danger comes from plastic, as we know that plastic needed some couple of year only can disappear and which can float for years. Fish and marine mammals or the animal stay inside the sea can in some cases mistake plastics for food and they can also become trapped in plastic ropes, nets, bags and other item even such some innocuous items as the plastic rings used to hold cans of beer and drinks together.

From the common sense and logical think that, all this rubbish make by our beloved human being. How dirty the sea is show how the human treat the sea, and it is clear that a good deal of the garbage washed up on beaches comes from people on shore. During holiday makers who leave their rubbish on the beach, fishermen who simply throw unwanted refuse over the side, or from towns and cities that dump rubbish into rivers or the sea is also the way how they polluted the sea. But in some areas most of the rubbish found comes from passing ships which find it convenient to throw rubbish overboard rather than dispose of it in ports.

For the old tradition and the older century, many people believed that the oceans could absorb anything that was thrown into them, but this is not true, this attitude has changed along with greater awareness of the environment. Many items can be degraded by the seas, but term and condition apply, the things can absorb by sea and the process can take months or years, as the following table shows:

Time taken for objects to dissolve at sea

Paper bus ticket

2-4 weeks

Cotton cloth

1-5 months


3-14 months

Woolen cloth

1 year

Painted wood

13 years

Tin can

100 years

Aluminum can

200-500 years

Plastic bottle

450 years

Source: Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA)

The MARPOL Convention sought to eliminate and reduce the amount of garbage being dumped into the sea from ships. The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is the International Maritime Organization’s major technical body concerned with the prevention and control of pollution from ships. It is aided in its work by a number of subcommittees. The Department participates in the work of the Committee and a number of the subcommittees. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) leads Australia’s work in MEPC.

The most important convention regulating and preventing pollution of the marine environment by ships is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The technical requirements of this Convention are included in six separate Annexes:

-Annex I – Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil

-Annex II – Regulations for the Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk

-Annex III – Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea in Packaged Form

-Annex IV – Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships

-Annex V – Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships

-Annex VI – Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships.

In the Annex I Prevention of pollution by oil, the Annex II Control of pollution by noxious liquid substances, the Annex IV Prevention of pollution by sewage from ships and the Annex V Prevention of pollution by garbage from ships, MARPOL defines certain sea areas as “special areas” in which, for technical reasons relating to their oceanographically and ecological condition and to their sea traffic, the adoption of special mandatory methods for the prevention of sea pollution is required. Under the Convention, these special areas are provided with a higher level of protection than other areas of the sea.

Adoption, entry into force & date of taking effect of Special Areas

Special Areas

Adopted #

Date of Entry into Force

In Effect From

Annex V: Garbage

Mediterranean Sea

2 Nov 1973

31 Dec 1988

1 May 2009

Baltic Sea

2 Nov 1973

31 Dec 1988

1 Oct 1989

Black Sea

2 Nov 1973

31 Dec 1988


Red Sea

2 Nov 1973

31 Dec 1988


“Gulfs” area

2 Nov 1973

31 Dec 1988

1 Aug 2008

North Sea

17 Oct 1989

18 Feb 1991

18 Feb 1991

Antarctic area (south of latitude 60 degrees south)

16 Nov 1990

17 Mar 1992

17 Mar 1992

Wider Caribbean region including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea

4 Jul 1991

4 Apr 1993

1 May 2011

Annex VI Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships establishes certain sulphur oxide (SOx) Emission Control Areas with more stringent controls on sulphur emissions.

Under Annex V of the Convention, garbage includes all kinds of food, domestic and operational waste, excluding fresh fish, generated during the normal operation of the vessel and liable to be disposed of continuously or periodically. Annex V totally prohibits of the disposal of plastics anywhere into the sea, and severely restricts discharges of other garbage from ships into coastal waters and “Special Areas”. The Annex also obliges Governments to ensure the provision of reception facilities at ports and terminals for the reception of garbage.

The special areas established under Annex V are:

the Mediterranean Sea

the Baltic Sea Area

the Black Sea area

the Red Sea Area

the Gulfs area

the North Sea

the Wider Caribbean Region and

Antarctic Area

These are areas which have particular problems because of heavy maritime traffic or low water exchange caused by the land-locked nature of the sea concerned.

The Garbage Record Book must be kept for a period of two years after the date of the last entry. This regulation does not in itself impose stricter requirements – but it makes it easier to check that the regulations on garbage are being adhered to as it means ship personnel must keep track of the garbage and what happens to it. It may also prove an advantage to a ship when local officials are checking the origin of dumped garbage – if ship personnel can adequately account for all their garbage, they are unlikely to be wrongly penalised for dumping garbage when they have not done so. All ships of 400 gross tonnage and above and every ship certified to carry 15 persons or more will have to carry a Garbage Management Plan, to include written procedures for collecting , storing, processing and disposing of garbage, including the use of equipment on board. The Garbage Management Plan should designate the person responsible for carrying out the plan and should be in the working language of the crew.

The “Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972” (the “London Convention”) was one of the first global conventions to protect the marine environment from human activities and has been in force since 1975. Its objective is to promote the effective control of all sources of marine pollution and to take all practicable steps to prevent pollution of the sea by dumping of wastes. Currently, 86 States are Parties to this Convention.

In 1996, the “London Protocol” was adopted to modernize the Convention and, eventually, replace it. The London Protocol entered into force in March 2006 and currently has 38 Parties. Under the Protocol all dumping is prohibited, but Parties may issue permits to allow the dumping of the following specified materials, subject to certain conditions:

dredged material;

sewage sludge;

fish wastes;

vessels and platforms;

inert, inorganic geological material (e.g., mining wastes);

organic material of natural origin;

bulky items primarily comprising iron, steel and concrete; and

Carbon dioxide streams from carbon dioxide capture processes for sequestration (CCS).

3.0 Consequences of Shipping to the Environment

The environmental effects of shipping including greenhouse gas emission and oil pollution. Carbon dioxide emissions from shipping currently estimate at 4 to 5 percent of the global total, and estimated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to increases up to 72 percent by 2020 if no action is taken. There is little argument about the truth that shipping is the most carbon-efficient mode of transportation. According to recent report of an IMO expert working group, international maritime shipping accounts for 2.7% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. Shipment also produces smaller amount of exhaust gas emissions which include nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, particulates, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide for each ton transportation of one kilometer than air or road transport. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Ship_pumping_ballast_water.jpg

Ballast water discharges by ships can have a negative impact on the marine environment. Cruise ships, large tankers, and bulk cargo carriers use a huge amount of ballast water which often taking in the coastal waters in one area after ships discharge waste water or unload cargo, and discharged at the next port of call wherever more cargo is loaded. Ballast water discharge typically contains a variety of biological materials, including plants, animals, viruses, and bacteria where it includes non-native, nuisance, invasive, exotic species that can cause extensive ecological and economic damage to aquatic ecosystems.

Noise pollution caused by shipping has increased in recent history. The noises produced by ships can travel for a long distances. Marine species that may rely on sound for their communication, orientation, and feeding can be harmed by this sound pollution. The Convention of the Conservation of Migratory Species had identified ocean noise as a possible treating marine life.

Oil spills usually associated with ship pollution but less frequent than the pollution those results from daily operations which oil spills have devastating effects. At the same time, it being toxic to marine life which polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are the components in crude oil. It is very difficult to clean up and last for many years in the sediment and marine environment. Marine species regularly exposed to PAHs can exhibit developmental problems, susceptibility to disease and abnormal reproductive cycles. One of the more widely known spills was the Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska. The ship ran aground and dumped a huge amount of oil into the ocean in March 1989.

Grey water is waste water from the sinks, galleys, laundry, showers and cleaning activities on board a ship. It can contain a variety of pollutant substances, including focal coli forms, detergents, oil and grease, organic compounds, metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, nutrients, food waste, medical and dental waste. Untreated grey water from cruise ships can contain pollutants at uneven strengths and it can contain levels of focal coli form bacteria several times greater than which typically found in untreated domestic waste water. Grey water has potential to cause unpleasant environmental effects because of concentrations of nutrients and other oxygen-demanding materials particularly. Grey water is typically the greatest source of liquid waste generated by cruise ships which is 90 to 95 percent of the total.

Solid waste generated on a ship includes glass, paper, aluminium, cardboard, steel cans, and plastics. It can be either hazardous or non-hazardous in nature. Solid waste which enters the ocean may become marine debris which can pose a threat to marine organisms, humans, coastal communities and industries that utilize marine waters. Cruise ships usually manage solid waste by combination of source reduction, waste minimisation and recycling. However, there are 75 percent of solid waste is incinerated on board and the ash typically is discharged at sea although some is for disposal or recycling. Marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and birds can be hurt or killed from entanglement with plastics and other solid waste that may be released from cruise ships. Typically, each cruise ship passenger produces at least two pounds of non-hazardous solid waste each day. With large cruise ships carrying several thousand of passengers, the amount of waste generated in a day can be huge. For a large cruise ship, about 8 tons of solid wastes are generated during a one-week cruise.

Next is the impact of the ships. Marine mammals such as whales and manatees face the risks to be struck by ships which will cause injury and death to them. For example, if a ship is travelling at a speed of only 15 knots, there is 79 percent chance of a collision being lethal to a whale. The greatest danger to the North Atlantic right whale is injury sustained from the strikes of the ship. From 1970 to 1999, 35.5 percent of recorded deaths were attributed to collisions. During 2004 to 2006, the number been increased to 2.6 deaths from the collisions has become an extinction threat nowadays.

During the shipment, leakages of oil from the ship engine and machinery spaces or from engine maintenance activities and then mixes with water in the bilge, at which the lowest part of the hull of the ship. Oil, gasoline, and also by-products from the biological breakdown of petroleum can harm fish and all the wildlife. As a result, it poses threats to human health if ingested. Oil which even in small concentrations can killed fish or having various sub-lethal chronic effects. Bilge water may also contain solid wastes and pollutants that have high amounts of oxygen-demanding material, oil and other chemicals. A typical large cruise ship will produce an average of 8 metric tons of oily bilge water for each 24 hours of operation. To maintain ship stability and remove potentially hazardous conditions from oil vapours in these areas, the bilge spaces need to be flushed and pumped dry at regular intervals. But before a bilge can be cleared out and the water discharged, the oil that has been accumulated has to be extracted from the bilge water after the extracted oil can be reused, incinerated or offloaded in port. If a separator, which is normally used to extract the oil, is faulty or deliberately bypassed, this will cause untreated oily bilge water to be discharged directly into the ocean, as consequence it will damage marine life.

Exhaust emissions from ships are measured as a significant source of air pollution with 18% to 30% of all nitrogen oxide and 9% of sulphur oxide pollution.” By the year of 2010, up to 40% of air pollution over land was come from the ships.” The sulphur containing in the air creates acid rain which will damages crops and buildings. When inhaled the sulphur, it is known to cause respiratory problems and even increase the risk of having heart attack. The fuel used in oil tankers and container ships contain high amount of sulphurs and is cheaper to buy compared to the fuel used for domestic land use. A ship eliminates around 50 times more sulphur than a lorry per metric tonne of cargo carried. Air pollution from cruise ships is produced by diesel engines that burn high sulphur content fuel oil which also known as bunker oil, which producing sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particularly addition to carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons. Diesel exhaust has been classified by EPA as human carcinogen. EPA recognizes that these emissions from marine diesel engines contribute to ozone and carbon monoxide nonattainment and adverse health effects associated with ambient concentrations of particulate matter and visibility, haze, acid deposition, and eutrophication and nitrification of water.

It is important for the industry to continuously work to reduce its environmental impact as the increases of size and global nature of the shipping industry and there is evidence that the industry has made significant progress. The fuel efficiency of container ships of 4500 TEU capacity has improved 35 percent between the year of 1985 and 2008. Comparison between a modern 12,000 TEU ship built in the year of 2007 and 1500 TEU container built in the year of 1976 has shows the carbon efficiency on per-mile cargo volume basis has been improved 75 percent in 30 years times.


4.0 International response toward maritime environment issue (laws and regulations, maritime organization)

Under the globalization, economic relationships around the world have grown much closer. Shipping is the most international high growth logistic industry of the world’s industries, serving 89.6 per cent of global trade by carrying huge quantities of cargo in the ocean. However, shipping has bring along many negative impacts to environment includes ballast water, greenhouse gas emissions, oil pollution and others. Actions have to be taken in order to overcome and tackle the problems.

First and foremost, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which is a specializes agency of the United Nations with 169 Member States and with around 300 international staff and three Associate Members play the important role in order to response and solving the maritime environmental issues. IMO provide a forum for cooperation among Governments in the field of governmental regulations and practices relating to all kinds of shipping engaged in international trade, facilitating the adoption of comprehensive multilateral treaties for a wide range of technical measures and in particular, the adoption of the highest standard to enhance safety, security, efficiency in shipping and prevention marine pollution from ships.

For issue of oil pollution, the large volume of oil transported, combined with heavy shipping traffic and poor navigation conditions, make a high risk for oil spills from shipping accidents. For example, about 20% of the accidents in the Malacca Straits involved oil tankers. Most of these tanker accidents were due to collisions and groundings and many resulted in severe oil pollution in the Straits. Toward this issue, IMO seeks to promote technical cooperation to this end by cooperating fully with other organizations within the United Nations family and relevant international, regional and non-governmental organizations to ensure a coordinated approach to the problem and to avoid wasteful duplication of efforts. As the basic philosophy hold by IMO there always if a regional agreement or treaty is to remain viable is must be provided with a minimum of institutional support. In the field of marine pollution prevention and response, for example oil pollution in Malacca Straits and Singapore, IMO has over the years played a significant catalytic role in helping the littoral states bordering the Straits and other ASEAN countries to develop their infrastructure and human resources potential to deal with marine pollution incidents. The efforts included the development of the “ASEAN Oil Spill Response Action Plan” and the development of the OSPAR Programme.

Since shipping become an important activity in global trade, the steel hulled vessels to ship design als


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