MARPOL is short for marine pollution, and is a standard for ship generated waste discharge. The standard was based on a treaty adopted in 1973 and later amended in 1978. The United States is one of nearly 100 countries that abide by this treaty. The U.S. Coast Guard is the enforcement branch for the United Stated.
Beginning January 1st, 2013 new restrictions on garbage discharge are in effect for ships at sea. Now all garbage is restricted with the exception of biodegradable foods. Products that were formerly allowed to be discharged once the ship was 25 miles out to sea are no longer allowed. Starting January 1, 2013, wooden dunnage that is not marked with the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15) mark will be refused entry at U.S. ports and will no longer be allowed to discharge at sea. All wooden dunnage will need to be ISPM 15 compliant or will be returned to the country of origin.
It is important that shipping companies and exporters are aware of this change as previously, wooden dunnage did not need an ISPM 15 stamp. Failure to comply with these new restrictions could results in delays and added cost.