The Federation Press

Australasian Marine Pollution Laws


The book analyses the international conventions, the Australian and New Zealand legislation and the regulatory structures in both countries relating to the protection and preservation of the marine environment from ship pollution. It concentrates on the important aspects of the marine environment and its protection and preservation in the light of the huge tonnages of vital trade goods carried by many merchant ships to and from the Australasian region.

This second edition sets out:

  • the sources of pollution of the coastal seas;
  • the UN international conventions on the marine environment;
  • the International Maritime Organization conventions;
  • marine salvage;
  • the complexities of the Australian offshore jurisdiction covering the Commonwealth States;
  • the New Zealand offshore jurisdiction;
  • some of the key aspects of regulatory governance and infrastructure; and
  • the status of the IMO conventions on shipping and the marine environment.


White writes in plain English, the meaning of complicated terms and technical teminology is explained and easily understood.
Overall this book is very informative, and as a novice in this subject matter, I was fascinated by the historical information in the early chapters. The comprehensive material that follows would be a great reference to legal practitioners or librarians eager to find the convention or statutes that meets their research requirements. - Belinda Schembri, Australian Law Librarian, Vol 16 No 3, 2008

Michael White is probably Australia’s leading maritime law academic. Unusually, he is both lawyer and seaman so he has a particular appreciation of the maritime legal scene.
This fine book reflects that. Given the current near national obsession with pollution and the environment, it is timely that this new and very comprehensive edition has been produced.
While many of the laws discussed are particular to Australia and New Zealand, they are normally in accord with the laws of other developed nations. Obviously, much of the law and its practice is closely dependent upon international agreement.
Unusual for a book produced by a legal academic, this one is of considerable interest and value to the connected lay reader. It is an important, comprehensive and very recent overview of a subject that is vital to professional mariners. - Work Boat World, November 2007

Review of previous edition:“While it covers a vast subject matter, this book is not a mere narrative account. It carefully addresses the complex legal issues involved in marine pollution from sovereignty and constitutional power to liability. ... Michael White’s book is a significant resource. It is comprehensive, readable and practical.” - Law Society of Tasmania June 1995

Table of Contents

Table of Acronyms and Abbreviations
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes
Table of Conventions

Introduction and Sources of Marine Pollution
United Nations Environmental Conventions and Agreements
IMO Conventions – Marine Pollution
IMO Conventions – Liability and Compensation
Salvage and Marine Pollution
Australian Offshore Jurisdictions – Petroleum and Constitutional Settlements
Australian Laws – Commonwealth
Australian Laws – States and Northern Territory
Australian Sensitive Marine Areas
New Zealand Conventions and Laws
Administrative Machinery for Combating Marine Pollution

Summary of IMO Conventions
Status of IMO Conventions

Of interest...