Illicit Discharges


Although operational discharges at sea by ships are regulated, mainly under the MARPOL Convention, numerous illicit discharges by ships are still seen occurring at sea, which requests action at a regional level to aid the detection and prosecution of such infringements.

Since the adoption of  the “Prevention and Emergency Protocol” in 2002, REMPEC has been actively working towards setting-up a sound basis for developing marine pollution surveillance and monitoring systems in the region, by providing up-to-date knowledge on technical aspects of remote sensing.  REMPEC also actively participate in pilot projects involving the satellite monitoring of sea-based oil pollution, in an effort to test the service and to further assist the Mediterranean coastal States in establishing national monitoring and surveillance systems.

Progress has been made towards near real time observations and setting by sub-regional cooperation in  monitoring marine pollution in accordance with specific objective 7 of the Regional Strategy.


The Mediterranean Network of Law Enforcement Officials working to MARPOL, within the framework of the Barcelona Convention (MENELAS), is a network of individuals from participating States supported by an electronic information system.

The MENELAS information system is an internet-based tool comprising of two main parts:

Public Interface:

  • information relating to illicit discharges
  • the aim of the network
  • identifying participating and associate members
  • information on activities and achievements
  • guidance on the domestic legislative framework and procedural requirements regarding illicit discharges

 Forum/hotline (restricted area), to facilitate the exchange of information between members on:

  • legal frameworks
  • tips for investigators
  • special techniques/devices/tools
  • evidence gathering/procedures
  • lessons learnt
  • post-case analysis

More information of MENELAS can be found on its dedicated online platform.