International requirements for the prevention of oil pollution from ships are contained in Annex I of the International Maritime Organizations' Pollution Convention entitled Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil. Annex I contains requirements for surveys and inspections; International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificates; discharges of oil or oily water mixtures; reception facilities; segregated or dedicated clean ballast; crude oil washing; oil record books; oil rigs; restrictions on carrying water ballast in fuel tanks; restrictions on carrying oil in forepeak tanks; retention of oil in slop tanks; monitoring, filtering and separating equipment; sludge tanks; pumping, piping and discharge arrangements; size and arrangement of cargo tanks; double-hulling of oil tankers; subdivision and stability of oil tankers; and shipboard oil pollution emergency plans.

The international provisions in Annex I of the Pollution Convention for ships have been incorporated into Canadian legislation in Division 1 – Oil – of the Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and for Dangerous Chemicals under Part XV of the Canada Shipping Act (CSA). These regulations apply the Annex I discharge provisions of the Pollution Convention in Canadian coastal waters; however, stricter discharge provisions are applied in Canadian inland waters under the CSA. With respect to inland waters, sections 28 and 42 of the regulations stipulate that ships wishing to discharge bilge water must comply with the 5 ppm limit and must have a 5 ppm bilge alarm approved in accordance with the Transport Canada Publication entitled Standard for 5 PPM Bilge Alarms (for Canadian Inland Waters), TP 12301. Arctic waters are regulated pursuant to the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act and the Arctic Shipping Pollution Prevention Regulations. Discharges in Arctic shipping safety control zones are addressed separately from this initiative.

Section 17 of the regulations includes the requirement for Canadian ships to fit oily water filtering equipment and bilge alarms that meet new stricter approval standards if fitted after January 1, 2005. Alternatively, ships may retain the oily water on board for discharge to a reception facility. This represents a significant improvement in preventing discharge in coastal waters, inland waters and waters in the exclusive economic zone of Canada.

Section 39 of the regulations also clarifies which ships are required to carry a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan and Subdivision 7 of this Division incorporates the double hulling requirements formerly included in TP 11710, Standards for the Double Hull Construction of Oil Tankers.