14 March 2024 – Anchoring Accountability: The Surge in Fines for Polluters in New Amendment Bill.

On the 29th of December 2023 the Department of Transport (“The Minister”) invited commentary on a draft amendment Bill (GN No.49946) which proposes to amend the Marine Pollution (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 2 of 1986 (“the Act”).

One of the proposed amendments, aims to incorporate annexture IV and VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of 1973 (“MARPOL Convention”), which was previously excluded. Annexture IV focuses on pollution by sewage from ships and sets out the circumstances under which a ship may discharge sewage into the sea. Accordingly, Annexture VI creates limits and prohibitions on the emission of certain gases and ozone damaging substances from ships.  The net effect of the proposed amendments is to broaden the Minister’s powers to make regulations in relation to the prevention of air pollution as well as the disposal of sewage from ships in order to give effect to the relevant provisions of the MARPOL Convention.

In the event of non-compliance with the Act (or regulations published pursuant thereto) the (max) fine has been raised from R500 000 to R10 million and the (max) imprisonment raised from 5 years to 10 years.

This crack down is fuelled by South Africa’s commitment to reaching its sustainable goals as committed to in the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for 2020 to 2025.

Should you require further detail in relation to the proposed amendments please do not hesitate to contact any one of our professional staff.

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