Bern, Press releases, 22.08.2012

The Federal Council seeks to contribute to enhancing the protection of the marine environment. On Wednesday, it adopted a draft Federal Decree on the approval of four conventions under the aegis of the International Maritime Organization (OMI). The Federal Council also proposes a modification of the Federal Act on Navigation under the Swiss Flag so as to be able to autonomously adhere to maritime conventions in the future. The relevant Message will be transmitted to Parliament.

The increase in both passenger and cargo transport on the high seas has confronted the international community with new challenges in terms of environmental protection, making it necessary to formulate and develop adequate international regulations. The four conventions to which Switzerland would like to adhere aim at improving the protection of the marine environment by way of various measures intended to eliminate sources of pollution emanating from ships.  

More specifically, this concerns Annex VI to the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (the MARPOL Convention), and three maritime conventions on the protection of the seas, i.e., the 2001 International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage; the 2004 International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments; and the 2011 International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (the AFS Convention). 

In becoming Party to these conventions, Switzerland seeks to manifest its commitment to the protection of the environment and, more specifically, to the protection of the marine environment. It would thereby also be expressing support for its merchant float of 41 commercial vessels which would be at no disadvantage with respect to those of countries which have ratified these International Maritime Organization (OMU) conventions. Based in London, this UN specialized organization – of which Switzerland is a founding member – is the principal forum dealing with the problems of marine navigation and its consequences. Since it foundation, the OMI has elaborated 63 international conventions which are updated on a regular basis.  

Furthermore, the Federal Council proposes to modify the Federal Act on Navigation under the Swiss Flag. In conformity with a practice that has proven its worth in several other domains – notably that of civil aviation – the competence to adhere to OMI international conventions in the nautical or technical domain would henceforth be delegated to the Federal Council. The parliamentary chambers would thus be relieved of the purely technical approval procedures.

Further questions
Information FDFA  
Phone: +41 31 322 31 53


Address for enquiries:

Information FDFA
Phone: +41 31 322 31 53


The Federal Council
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Last update 19.07.2023

  • FDFA Communication answers media queries Mondays to Fridays during office hours and operates a weekend emergency on-call service.


FDFA Communication

Federal Palace West
3003 Bern

Phone (for journalists only):
+41 58 460 55 55

Phone (for all other requests):
+41 58 462 31 53

Start of page