« PreviousContinue »
After 1980, given the effects of the 1969 amendments on the crude oils, discharges of light oils would have constituted the major portion of operational discharges. We feel that the control of these products and the reduction in maximum allowable discharge from tankers represent major achievements in the battle for clean oceans.
As you know, it was the concern of the U.S. delegation that human error be designed out of these processes to the extent feasible.
I am pleased to report that in order to achieve these reductions in operational discharges, all oil-carrying ships will be required to be capable of retaining residues on board by operating under the so-called "load on top” system and/or discharging to reception facilities. All new and existing tankers will be required to be fitted with equipment to insure that the levels are met and maintained. Examples of devices made mandatory by this Convention are oil discharge monitoring and control systems, oil-water separating equipment or filtering systems, slop tanks, and piping and pumping arrangements.
As a matter of primary concern, another significant achievement in reducing the margin for human error was the adoption of segregated ballast requirements. Our delegation pressed hard for construction standards which would remove the oil and ballast water contact which until now has formed a considerable portion of operational discharges. We were successful in obtaining mandatory segregated ballast tanks as a requirement for all tankers over 70,000 deadweight tons contracted for after December 31, 1975, or delivered after December 31, 1979. The amount of segregated ballast specified will preclude the need for utilizing cargo tanks for ballasting in almost all instances.
Mr. Chairman, our bid to make mandatory the use of double bottoms to effect segregated ballast was rejected. After lengthy debate, the Technical Committee voted down by a substantial majority the concept of mandatory double bottoms for the carriage of segregated ballast.
I think I would say generally that the United States found very little support amongst the other countries at the Conference for the concept of double bottoms for which we were pushing.
In addition, Mr. Chairman, the discharage of all oil within 50 miles of land is prohibited and oil discharge is completely prohibited within designated special areas: The Baltic, Black, Red, and Mediterranean Seas and the area which we commonly call the Persian Gulf. We were concerned that these areas have uniform operational requirements and this has been provided for.
In addition, parties undertake to insure the provision of reception facilities. This requirement will largely fall on oil-loading terminals of exporting nations but it will also be necessary at repair yards.
The Convention prescribes the control of a number of other important sources of marine pollution which have heretofore been unregulated.
All of the major liquid substances currently carried in bulk on the world oceans have been evaluated and all but the relatively innocuous compounds are now to be regulated with requirements on discharges which range from disposal at reception facilities or dilution of residue prior to discharge. Over 300 substances have been classified based on relative hazard to marine resources, human health, amenities, and other legitimate uses of the sea.
The list will be kept up to date and all new substances proposed to be carried by ship will be evaluated and categorized on a case-by-case basis. Prior to evaluation such substances must be handled as are those in the most hazardous category.
This ongoing evaluation is an example, Mr. Chairman, of the type of scientific approach which we believe IMCO must pursue in dealing with the problems of ocean pollution.
With this necessity in mind I introduced last June the concept of a new committee under IMCO auspices which would be known as the Marine Environment Protection Committee and would enjoy a wide degree of autonomy in taking rapid action to protect the marino ecosystem.
Three additional technical annexes are optional; that is, they need not be accepted in order to accept the Convention.
One treats the problem posed by harmful packaged good which will now be regulated in terms of packaging, labeling, stowage, and limitations on quantity.
Sewage discharge is banned within 4 miles of land unless the ship is operating an approved treatment plant at a level of disinfection established by the appropriate IMCO organization. At distances from 4 miles to 12 miles from the nearest land sewage must be macerated and treated to some degree of disinfection; beyond 12 miles no treatment is required. This annex applies to both new and existing ships over 200 gross tons and to ships of lesser tonnage which accommodate more than 10 persons.
Garbage from ships may not be disposed of closer than 12 miles from the nearest land except for ground garbage for which a 3-mile prohibition applies. The disposal of all plastics is prohibited.
Mr. Chairman, rather than undertaking at this time a point-bypoint analysis of the 20 articles to this Convention which govern the five technical annexes, I would like to call to your attention several major issues.
Since the treaty is not self-executing, each party approving the Convention will need to enact enabling domestic legislation.
The IMCO Conference intentionally avoided any resolution of jurisdictional issues. Thus, while each party is required to prohibit and punish violations within its jurisdiction" or refer them to the flag State for prosecution, it is left to the Law of the Sea Conference to add substance to the neutral jurisdictional formula.
Although the United States strongly urged a provision whereby port States would have been authorized to prosecute with respect to foreign ships in their ports for violations committed on the high seas, this concept was rejected on the grounds that the issue should properly be left to the Law of the Sea Conference.
The flag State has a new duty imposed under this Convention in that it is required to prosecute in accordance with its laws all violations committed by its flag vessels wherever they occur.
In order to enforce the construction and equipment requirements, Coastal States may inspect foreign vessels in their ports or offshore terminals to verify the existence of a valid certificate of compliance or where “clear grounds” for believing the ship is in noncompliance, the equipment and construction may be inspected.
On failure of a foreign ship to pass an inspection, the port State is required to detain it until it can sail without presenting an unreasonable threat to the marine environment or is proceeding to the nearest appropriate repair yard.
Each State party to the convention must apply it to ships of nonparties insofar as is necessary to insure that such ships do not gain a competitive advantage from noncompliance.
Another important aspect of the articles is the provision for compulsory arbitration of disputes which may be triggered at the request of any party to a dispute.
Thus, for example, as I understand it, Mr. Chairman, if a ship of another country commits a violation which we know about on the high seas and enters our jurisdiction, we as port State, but nonflag State, cannot prosecute that vessel for the violation outside of our jurisdiction. However, we can report it to the flag State itself and if the flag State fails to take remedial action, then we have a cause which we can bring to bear through this mandatory dispute settlement process.
Thus, to that extent, there is a very important level to bring about international enforcement of the provisions of this Convention.
There is, in addition, a provision for an innovative amendment procedure which should allow the technical provisions to be updated without the traditional cumbersome treaty revision process.
What this means is that there will be an international system in place to make the ongoing evaluations to which I referred earlier and to take timely action on the basis of those evaluations.
The treaty does not contain any provision, positive or negative, regarding the rights of states to set more stringent standards within their jurisdiction.
After long and difficult debate on the issue, no article was agreed for inclusion on this subject. Our delegation strongly supported this result. The matter is accordingly regulated by international law, and will be addressed in detail at the forthcoming law of the Sea Conference.
Mr. Chairman. I have tried to sketch briefly some of the high points of the International Marine Pollution Conference which concluded on November 2 after 4 weeks of intensive work.
The United States worked throughout that period with the other 78 countries represented in order to achieve a Convention which could be the basis of drastic reduction of the current pollution of the sea both by oil and other noxious substances.
It is my belief that we have, to a large extent, achieved that goal. I think we can be proud of the fact that the 2 years of international activity culminating in this Convention followed a U.S. initiative, made in 1970, calling on the nations of the world to take action to end ship-generated marine pollution in this decade.
I might also add that it was just 1 year ago, also in London, that the nations of the world met and agreed to the text of a Convention to control ocean dumping. That Convention, likewise, followed very closely upon the approval by this Congress of our own domestic legislation to regulate ocean dumping.
So, we have seen an effective effort to carry out a comprehensive strategy to control the pollution of the seas. I think this has been a very major step forward in international matters.
That concludes my statement, Mr. Chairman, I do not know whether you wish to ask Dr. Federov to address any remarks to the committee. I am sure he would be glad to.
He was not present at the London meeting so I do not think he considers himself particularly expert on the subject of this Convention.
Dr. FEDEROV. No, no, of course not.
Senator BEALL. We would be glad to hear a few remarks from Dr. Federov, if you would care to give them.
Dr. FEDEROV. Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentlemen, it is very interesting to me to be present in such a process in the U.S. Senate.
As I understand it, this is a process in preparing adoption for participation in the Convention, if I understand it correctly.
As Mr. Train already has said, our delegations, the United States and our Chairman to it, worked at this Conference together in a good contact. There was very good cooperation between our Conference delegations.
Now we are working on another problem, which may be a broader problem, one of protection of the environment from the consequences of human actions. And our meeting hopefully will achieve implementation of the agreement which was signed between our President Podgorny, and the President of the United States, Mr. Nixon.
I think our meeting which is going on will be successful and I think it will conclude as successfully as this Conference did. Of course all people will understand, I am sure, the importance of solving the problem of environmental requirements in our day.
I was very proud to be in a meeting with the President of the United States, Mr. Nixon, and I was glad that the President of the United States expressed his point of view on the relations between our countries, such a view which is also very cooperative and held in our country.
I think it is very good wherein the Chiefs of State, both states, our state and your state, are of one opinion about the relationship in this area. So as Mr. Train has said, these are good elements and will help improve the relationship of our countries.
Senator BEALL. Thank you, very much.
In the brief time I was in London, I noticed a very close cooperation, which indicated a good relationship between our delegations.
Mr. Train. We sat in the back row together.
Mr. Train, how close do you think the conference comes to attaining its goals of complete elimination of operational pollution from ships by 1980 ?
Mr. TRAIN. I think it has gotten us very definitely on a road which will ultimately achieve substantially no intentional discharge on the high seas. We will be fully on track toward reaching that goal within this constraint.
I must in all honesty say I am sure there will be some discharges beyond 1980, but I think we have made a very major step forward here.
A portion of the problem as you will fully understand, Mr. Chairman, is the fact that it is not easy to retrofit existing fleets. We can make all sorts of design requirements as to the future and impose very strict operating standards as to future vessels, but it is not as easy with respect to existing ships. Obviously a great many of these will still be operating throughout this decade and on into the next decade.
Nevertheless, I would say that we have substantially achieved the purpose of that goal.
Senator BEALL. Apparently there was a good deal of discussion around article 8, the ability of individual states to take stronger measures in their own port areas.
Would you comment on that, please?
Mr. Train. I would not want to pose as an expert on the Law of the Sea problems, although I have been exposed to this quite often. Article 8 as it appeared in the Draft Convention, which was what we started working with when the Conference met in London, would have prohibited any design or construction standards stricter than those imposed by the Conference itself in areas which are under the jurisdiction of a party to the Convention.
As you know, this would seem on the face at least to pose some inconsistency with our Port and Waterways Safety Act. Likewise with respect to discharges, the United States believes that it is important because of its own high standards to maintain the freedom of action to establish higher standards under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act if it desires.
Other nations, particularly maritime countries, would like to see prohibitions upon unilateral action of various kinds within coastal states' jurisdictions.
I think the reasons are very obvious. There is an interest which we share in uniform rules governing the movement of maritime commerce. It conceivably could be very obstructive if we had different design rules and different discharge rules in different jurisdictions all around the world.
Others, coastal states particularly, feel very strongly on the importance of their national rights essentially to do whatever they wish within the waters of their jurisdiction.
So there were these different points of view within the various countries of the Conference.
I think I probably oversimplified these. There were various shades and nuances of position. We all tried, I think, manfully, for a period of 3 weeks or a month to reach draft language which could accommodate all of these different points of view, but it eventually became impossible and the solution was to delete all of article 8 from the Convention.
As my statement says, the right of a state to act unilaterally within its jurisdiction is left to international law. Thus, there is just simply no change.
This really was without question the most difficult element in the Conference because it involved such divergent points of view not really of an environmental nature, or even a maritime nature, but of national interest generally.