Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic
For the purposes of the Convention:
(a) “Maritime area”means the internal waters and the territorial seas of
the Contracting Parties, the sea beyond and adjacent to the
territorial sea under the jurisdiction of the coastal state to the
extent recognised by international law, and the High Seas , including
the bed of all those waters and its sub-soil, situated within the
(i) those parts of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and their
dependent seas which lie north of 36 degrees north latitude and
between 42 degrees west longitude and 51 degrees east
longitude, but excluding:
(1) the Baltic Sea and the Belts lying to the south and east of
lines drawn from Hasenore Head to Gniben Point, from Korshage
to Spodsbjerg and from Gilbjerg Head to Kullen,
(2) the Mediterranean Sea and its dependent seas as far as the
point of intersection of the parallel of 36 degrees north
latitude and the meridian of 5 degrees 36′ west longitude;
(ii) that part of the Atlantic Ocean north of 59 degrees north
latitude and between 44 degrees west longitude and 42 degrees
(b) “Internal waters”means the waters on the landward side of the
baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured,
extending in the case of watercourses up to the freshwater limit.
(c) “Freshwater limit”means the place in a watercourse where, at low
tide and in a period of low freshwater flow, there is an appreciable
increase in salinity due to the presence of seawater.
(d) “Pollution”means the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of
substances or energy into the maritime area which results, or is
likely to result, in hazards to human health, harm to living
resources and marine ecosystems, damage to amenities or interference
with other legitimate uses of the sea.
(e) “Land-based sources”means point and diffuse sources on land from
which substances or energy reach the maritime area by water, through
the air, or directly from the coast. It includes sources associated
with any deliberate disposal under the sea-bed made accessible from
land by tunnel, pipeline or other means and sources associated with
man-made structures placed, in the maritime area under the
jurisdiction of a Contracting Party, other than for the purpose of
(i) any deliberate disposal in the maritime area of wastes or other
(1) from vessels or aircraft;
(2) from offshore installations;
(ii) any deliberate disposal in the maritime area of
(1) vessels or aircraft;
(2) offshore installations and offshore pipelines.
(g) “Dumping”does not include:
(i) the disposal in accordance with the International Convention
for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified
by tho Protocol of 1978 relating thereto, or other applicable
international law, of wastes or other matter incidental to, or
derived from, the normal operations of vessels or aircraft or
offshore installations other than wastes or other matter
transported by or to vessels or aircraft or offshore
installations for the purpose of disposal of such wastes or
other matter or derived from the treatment of such wastes or
other matter on such vessels or aircraft or offshore
(ii) placement of matter for a purpose other than the mere disposal
thereof, provided that, if the placement is for a purpose other
than that for which the matter was originally designed or
constructed, it is in accordance with the relevant provisions
of the Convention; and
(iii) for the purposes of Annex III, the leaving wholly or partly in
place of a disused offshore installation or disused offshore
pipeline, provided that any such operation takes place in
accordance with any relevant provision of the Convention and
with other relevant international law.
(h) “Incineration”means any deliberate combustion of wastes or other
matter in the maritime area for the purpose of their thermal
(i) “Incineration”does not include the thermal destruction of
wastes or other matter in accordance with applicable
international law incidental to, or derived from the normal
operation of vessels or aircraft, or offshore installations
other than the thermal destruction of wastes or other matter on
vessels or aircraft or offshore installations operating for the
purpose of such thermal destruction.
(j) “Offshore activities”means activities carried out in the maritime
area for the purpose of the exploration, appraisal or exploitation of
liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons.
(k) “Offshore sources”means offshore installations and offshore
pipelines from which substances or energy reach the maritime area.
(l) “Offshore installation”means any man-made structure, plant or vessel
or parts thereof, whether floating or fixed to the seabed, placed
within the maritime area for the purpose of offshore activities.
(m) “Offshore pipeline”means any pipeline which has been placed in the
maritime area for the purpose of offshore activities.
(n) “Vessels or aircraft”means waterborne or airborne craft of any type
whatsoever, their parts and other fittings. This expression includes
air-cushion craft, floating craft whether self-propelled or not, and
other man-made structures in the maritime area and their equipment,
but excludes offshore installations and offshore pipelines.
(o) “Wastes or other matter”does not include:
(i) human remains;
(ii) offshore installations;
(iii) offshore pipelines;
(iv) unprocessed fish and fish offal discarded from fishing vessels.
(p) “Convention”means, unless the text otherwise indicates, the
Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-
East Atlantic, its Annexes and Appendices.
(q) “Oslo Convention”means the Convention for the Prevention of Marine
Pollution by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft signed in Oslo on 15th
February 1972, as amended by the protocols of 2nd March 1983 and 5th
(r) “Paris Convention”means the Convention for the Prevention of Marine
Pollution from Land-based Sources, signed in Paris on 4th June 1974,
as amended by the protocol of 26th March 1986.
(s) “Regional economic integration organisation”means an organisation
constituted by sovereign States of a given region which has
competence in respect of matters governed by the Convention and has
been duly authorised, in accordance with its internal procedures, to
sign, ratify, accept, approve or accede to the Convention.
1.(a)The Contracting Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions of
the Convention, take all possible steps to prevent and eliminate
pollution and shall take the necessary measures to protect the
maritime area against the adverse effects of human activities so as
to safeguard human health and to conserve marine ecosystems and, when
practicable, restore marine areas which have been adversely affected.
(b) To this end Contracting Parties shall, individually and jointly,
adopt programmes and measures and shall harmonise their policies and
2. The Contracting Parties shall apply:
(a) the precautionary principle, by virtue of which preventive measures
are to be taken when there are reasonable grounds for concern that
substances or energy introduced, directly or indirectly, into the
marine environment may bring about hazards to human health, harm
living resources and marine ecosystems, damage amenities or interfere
with other legitimate uses of the sea, even when there is no
conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between the inputs and
(b) the polluter pays principle, by virtue of which the costs of
pollution prevention, control and reduction measures are to be borne
by the polluter.
3.(a)In implementing the Convention, Contracting Parties shall adopt
programmes and measures which contain, where appropriate, time-limits
for their completion and which take full account of the use of the
latest technological developments and practices designed to prevent
and eliminate pollution fully.
(b) To this end they shall:
(i) taking into account the criteria set forth in Appendix 1,
define with respect to programmes and measures the application
of, inter alia,
— best available techniques
— best environmental practice
including, where appropriate, clean technology;
(ii) in carrying out such programmes and measures, ensure the
application of best available techniques and best environmental
practice as so defined, including, where appropriate, clean
4. The Contracting Parties shall apply the measures they adopt in such a
way as to prevent an increase in pollution of the sea outside the maritime
area or in other parts of the environment.
5. No provision of the Convention shall be interpreted as preventing the
Contracting Parties from taking, individually or jointly, more stringent
measures with respect to the prevention and elimination of pollution of the
maritime area or with respect to the protection of the maritime area
against the adverse effects of human activities.
References and Further Reading
About the Author/s and Reviewer/s
Mentioned in these Entries
Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic 2, Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic 3, Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic 4, Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic 5, Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic 6, High Seas, International Conventions from 1991, Marine and Coastal conventions.