(a) General prohibition; cooperation and enforcement; detection and monitoring measures; reports; evidence

It is unlawful to act in violation of the MARPOL Protocol, Annex IV to the Antarctic Protocol, this chapter, or the regulations issued thereunder. The Secretary shall cooperate with other parties to the MARPOL Protocol or to the Antarctic Protocol in the detection of violations and in enforcement of the MARPOL Protocol and Annex IV to the Antarctic Protocol. The Secretary shall use all appropriate and practical measures of detection and environmental monitoring, and shall establish adequate procedures for reporting violations and accumulating evidence.

(b) Investigations; subpenas: issuance by Secretary, enforcement; action by Secretary; information to party

Terms Used In 33 USC 1907

  • Administrator: means the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. See 33 USC 1901
  • Antarctic Protocol: means the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, signed October 4, 1991, in Madrid, and all annexes thereto, and includes any future amendments thereto which have entered into force. See 33 USC 1901
  • Convention: means the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, including Protocols I and II and Annexes I, II, V, and VI thereto, including any modification or amendments to the Convention, Protocols, or Annexes which have entered into force for the United States. See 33 USC 1901
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • MARPOL Protocol: means the Protocol of 1978 relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, and includes the Convention. See 33 USC 1901
  • officer: includes any person authorized by law to perform the duties of the office. See 1 USC 1
  • person: means an individual, firm, public or private corporation, partnership, association, State, municipality, commission, political subdivision of a State, or any interstate body. See 33 USC 1901
  • Secretary: means the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating. See 33 USC 1901
  • ship: means a vessel of any type whatsoever, including hydrofoils, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft whether self-propelled or not, and fixed or floating platforms. See 33 USC 1901
  • terminal: means an onshore facility or an offshore structure located in the navigable waters of the United States or subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and used, or intended to be used, as a port or facility for the transfer or other handling of a harmful substance. See 33 USC 1901

Upon receipt of evidence that a violation has occurred, the Secretary shall cause the matter to be investigated. In any investigation under this section the Secretary may issue subpenas to require the attendance of any witness and the production of documents and other evidence. In case of refusal to obey a subpena issued to any person, the Secretary may request the Attorney General to invoke the aid of the appropriate district court of the United States to compel compliance. Upon completion of the investigation, the Secretary shall take the action required by the MARPOL Protocol or the Antarctic Protocol and whatever further action he considers appropriate under the circumstances. If the initial evidence was provided by a party to the MARPOL Protocol or the Antarctic Protocol, the Secretary, acting through the Secretary of State, shall inform that party of the action taken or proposed.

(c) Ship inspections; reports to Secretary; additional action

(1) This subsection applies to inspections relating to possible violations of Annex I or Annex II to the Convention, of Article 3 or Article 4 of Annex IV to the Antarctic Protocol, or of this chapter by any seagoing ship referred to in section 1902(a)(2) of this title.

(2) While at a port or terminal subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, a ship to which the MARPOL Protocol or the Antarctic Protocol applies may be inspected by the Secretary–

(A) to verify whether or not the ship has discharged a harmful substance in violation of the MARPOL Protocol, Annex IV to the Antarctic Protocol, or this chapter; or

(B) to comply with a request from a party to the MARPOL Protocol or the Antarctic Protocol for an investigation as to whether the ship may have discharged a harmful substance anywhere in violation of the MARPOL Protocol or Annex IV to the Antarctic Protocol. An investigation may be undertaken under this clause only when the requesting party has furnished sufficient evidence to allow the Secretary reasonably to believe that a discharge has occurred.


If an inspection under this subsection indicates that a violation has occurred, the investigating officer shall forward a report to the Secretary for appropriate action. The Secretary shall undertake to notify the master of the ship concerned and, acting in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall take any additional action required by Article 6 of the Convention.

(d) Garbage disposal inspections; covered ships; enforcement actions

(1) The Secretary may inspect a ship referred to in section 1902(a)(3) of this title to verify whether the ship has disposed of garbage in violation of Annex V to the Convention, Article 5 of Annex IV to the Antarctic Protocol, or this chapter.

(2) If an inspection under this subsection indicates that a violation has occurred, the Secretary may undertake enforcement action under section 1908 of this title.

(e) Harmful substance or garbage disposal inspections; covered ships; enforcement actions

(1) The Secretary may inspect at any time a ship of United States registry or nationality or operating under the authority of the United States to which the MARPOL Protocol or the Antarctic Protocol applies to verify whether the ship has discharged a harmful substance or disposed of garbage in violation of those Protocols or this chapter.

(2) If an inspection under this subsection indicates that a violation of the MARPOL Protocol, of Annex IV to the Antarctic Protocol, or of this chapter has occurred the Secretary may undertake enforcement action under section 1908 of this title.

(f) Inspections; enforcement

(1) The Secretary may inspect a ship to which this chapter applies as provided under section 1902(a)(5) of this title, to verify whether the ship is in compliance with Annex VI to the Convention and this chapter.

(2) If an inspection under this subsection or any other information indicates that a violation has occurred, the Secretary, or the Administrator in a matter referred by the Secretary, may undertake enforcement action under this section.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (b) and paragraph (2) of this subsection, the Administrator shall have all of the authorities of the Secretary, as specified in subsection (b) of this section, for the purposes of enforcing regulations 17 and 18 of Annex VI to the Convention to the extent that shoreside violations are the subject of the action and in any other matter referred to the Administrator by the Secretary.