Australian Maritime Safety Authority

“Nearest land”– what it means under MARPOL and Australia

MARPOL Standards

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) contains discharge standards requiring ships to be a specified distance from the "nearest land" before a discharge at sea can be undertaken.

Nearest Land

The MARPOL definition for nearest land is:

“The term "from the nearest land" means from the baseline from which the territorial sea of the territory in question is established in accordance with international law, except that, for the purposes of the present Convention "from the nearest land" off the north eastern coast of Australia shall mean from a line drawn from a point on the coast of Australia in:

latitude 11°00' S, longitude 142°08' E
to a point in latitude 10°35' S, longitude 141°55' E,
thence to a point latitude 10°00' S, longitude 142°00' E,
thence to a point latitude 9°10' S, longitude 143°52' E,
thence to a point latitude 9°00' S, longitude 144°30' E,
thence to a point latitude 10°41' S, longitude 145°00' E,
thence to a point latitude 13°00' S, longitude 145°00' E,
thence to a point latitude 15°00' S, longitude 146°00' E,
thence to a point latitude 17°30' S, longitude 147°00' E,
thence to a point latitude 21°00' S, longitude 152°55' E,
thence to a point latitude 24°30' S, longitude 154°00' E,
thence to a point on the coast of Australia in latitude 24°42' S, longitude 153°15' E."

The MARPOL Nearest Land [PDF Icon PDF: 1.25Mb] document provides visual maps of the “nearest land” area off the north eastern part of Australia.

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