The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) is the main international convention governing the prevention of pollution to the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. The MARPOL convention was adopted in 1973, whereas the actual protocol was adopted in 1978. The combined instrument MARPOL 73/78 entered into force in 1983, and has been subject to amendments over the years. In July 2011, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted revisions to MARPOL Annex V that were of specific relevance to the transport of solid bulk cargoes.
In accordance with MARPOL Annex V, the management of the residues of solid bulk cargoes depends primarily on the classification of the solid bulk cargo as to whether it is Harmful to the Marine Environment (HME) or non-HME. In 2012, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of IMO, adopted the 2012 Guidelines for the implementation of MARPOL Annex V (resolution MEPC.219(63)) to assist in the implementation of requirements for MARPOL Annex V.
Residues are considered as HME if they are classified against any one of the following seven parameters according to the criteria of the UN GHS
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 Refers to the 4th revised edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, published by the United Nations as document ST/SG/AC.10/30/Rev.4.
 Products that are classified for Carcinogenicity, Mutagenicity, Reproductive Toxicity or STOT-RE for oral or dermal hazards or without specification of the exposure route in the hazard statement
 International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC, 2016 Edition) Incorporating Amendment 03-15 and Supplement.