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Keeping the oceans free of oil

Lincoln University
Publication Date
  • Environmental Law
  • Oil Pollution
  • Marine Pollution
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Law


The aim of this research is to investigate the legal elements of control over the ocean. Three structures for the ocean are considered and a merging of these concepts is postulated. The further aim of the work is to investigate the birth of both international and New Zealand marine pollution laws. Several of the details required for any effective justice system involving oil pollution are lacking. This study addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the international oil pollution prevention legislation and the New Zealand domestic law on the same topic. However time and space do not permit me to address the Rio Convention and other general environmental conventions because they are beyond the scope of this work. Using the Canterbury Regional Council prosecution files as a case study and the international oil spills database statistics, trends of behaviour and themes become apparent to assist in oil pollution prevention. These themes and trends can be used in conjunction with the law. This data allows conclusions and recommendations to be postulated to create an adequate environmental justice system using natural resource restoration tools. Natural resource tools could allow the ocean environment to be restored to the position it was before the oil spill. What should flow from this study is an consistent equitable system of punitive fines allowing ongoing oil pollution studies and restoration to take place with this tool.

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