By A. Ahnell, H. O’Leary (auth.), S. T. Orszulik (eds.)

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While the shift did not occur overnight, the international political bargaining process at the IMO was no longer weighted exclusively in favour of shipping interests (Mitchell, 1993, pp. 186 and 193). This has enabled the IMO not only to set international standards for ocean shipping, but also to attempt to ensure the efficacy of these standards through flag, coastal and port state compliance and enforcement (Kirgis, 1995, p. 715). Having finally achieved stringent regulations on paper, especially in respect of deliberate vessel-source marine oil pollution through the 1973/78 MARPOL treaty, the IMO has in recent years sought to redirect its focus to compliance.

241). As mentioned earlier, the provisions under the 1982 Convention are much more ambiguous in their phraseology, thus allowing some support for the argument against mandatory total removal of abandoned structures. 3 of the 1982 UNCLOS states that any installation or structure that is disused shall be removed to ensure safety of navigation, taking into account any generally accepted international standards established in this regard by the competent international organization. Such removal shall also have due regard to fishing, the protection of the marine environment and the rights and duties of other states.

The lack of even a framework-type binding international agreement within this sector of the oil industry, setting down globally verifiable operational discharge standards for offshore installations, is a cause for much environmentalist concern. As a direct result of such lacunae, the practice of domestic states regarding such potential sources of pollution is extremely varied both in their promulgation of measures and, more important, their enforcement. In a case study of two oil and gas platforms off the Malaysian coastline, for example, it was found that 24 INTERNATIONAL LEGAL DEVELOPMENTS IN ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION neither project had been subjected to environmental impact assessment (EIA) reporting requirements in its planning stages, thus creating possible future problems of interpretation regarding the incidence and sources of environmental degradation in the area within its immediate vicinity (Low, 1990, p.

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