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Pollution of Waters by Oil and Noxious Substances Act 1987


Pollution of the sea is generally regulated by general pollution laws, such as the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.

The Pollution of Waters by Oil and Noxious Substance Act 1987 deals specifically with discharges of oil and other pollutants from ships into waters within Tasmania’s jurisdiction. It also gives effect in Tasmania to the international MARPOL convention on marine pollution. 

In 2013, the Act was amended to allow the Director to make and issue a sewage management directive in consultation with the Director of Public Health. A directive is to apply to certain vessels in State waters, and is to provide that the offence will not apply to a sewage discharge from such vessels which complies with the directive.

The Bill also included an amendment to the definition of "State waters" in PWONSA to confirm that the State's responsibilities in giving effect to the nations obligations under the MARPOL Convention, and consequently for enforcement of PWONSA, extend only to the 3 nautical mile limit from the baselines. See the Fact Sheet for more background.

Outside Tasmanian waters, pollution is controlled by the Australian Government under the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 and the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping Act) 1981.

Legislation online

The legislation is available online at Tasmania’s The Law website.

Regulations made under the Act include: