The principal secretary for civil aviation, ports and marine, Alan Renaud, presented the instruments to the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Kitack Lim, at the IMO headquarters in London last week.
"Seychelles' accession to these Annexes proves our commitment, as a responsible Flag Nation, to reduce pollution from ships -- protecting not only our own marine environments, but everyone else's too. Ocean waters have no passports," said Didier Dogley, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine.
Seychelles originally became a party to MARPOL 73/78, and its mandatory two annexes I and II, in November 1990.
The island nation has now acceded to the annexes for the prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form; prevention of pollution by sewage from ships; prevention of pollution by garbage from ships; and prevention of air pollution from ships.
The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
An accession is an act where a State seeks to become a party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other states, usually after it has entered into force. It has the same legal effect as ratification.
Renaud said that as an island nation, "shipping will always be an indispensable part of our economy, but so too is our natural capital, and we hold it fair and just that shipping operations in our waters be carried out in a manner that keeps them clean and safe."
He added that "if we are ineffectual at implementing globally agreed standards to prevent marine pollution, we risk making our seas a haven for sub-standard shipping. And without the necessary legislation, we cannot even enforce the standards, which is why our next action will be to domesticate the Annexes into Seychelles Law, to give power to our new Maritime Safety Authority to deal with bad actors, few we hope they may be."
Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres which makes the health of the ocean fundamental to its economy.
Minister Dogley said, "The beaches of our precious jewel, Aldabra, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, are festooned with the flip flops, fishing gear, and also the plastic bottles of seafarers and shippers plying their trades thousands of miles away; the ocean litter prevents turtles to nest and entangles seabirds... the battle to keep our sparkling islands clean is not one we can win by ourselves alone, instead only in concert and shared community with the world."
In accordance with IMO regulations, the instruments will become effective for Seychelles on February 29, 2020