Maritime solutions

Groups have been exploring possible measures that could be implemented by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that govern international maritime laws. Many are calling for the introduction of maritime policy that would classify nurdles as marine pollutants. In doing so, nurdles would be subject to more stringent measures when handled at sea which would significantly reduce the chances of loss to the environment.  


In doing so, pellets would be subject to a number of measures that would significantly reduce the risk of future pollution incidents, including: 

  • Improved packaging to ensure nurdles are transported in tear resistant and marine resistant packaging. 
  • Safer stowage, ensuring that containers of nurdles would be stored below deck to prevent containers falling straight into the sea.  
  • Improved communication between ship operators and cargo owners ensuring ship crews are made aware nurdles are onboard and aware of the associated environmental harm they pose.  

In addition to better handling of nurdles at sea, groups are also calling for well-equipped maritime contingency plans to combat possible nurdle spills at sea instantly.

This approach could have an immediate impact for the most direct route for marine pellet pollution and will set a precedent for other parts of the supply chain and wider plastic pollution action. 


While shipping disasters can be highly damaging locally, estimates suggest most losses of pellets occur on land. 
Any action at sea shouldn’t distract from solving the pellet pollution problem across the full supply chain. 

Current Activity

International rules are currently being negotiated at the IMO, governments all around the world must support the changes to the classification of pellets to become marine pollutants. For current progress on the negotiations see our most recent guest blog by Fauna and Flora’s Falco Martin.

See our resources below to help you lobby your government to support these regulations to prevent sea-based sources of pellet pollution and sign Fauna and Flora’s petition.


  • Raise awareness of the problem by joining our directory
  • Lobby your government to support the classification of pellets as marine pollutants.
  • Sign Fauna & Flora’s petition to influence the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to classify plastic pellets as a marine pollutant


Watch our latest webinar on marine solutions below

Watch all past webinars here.


CE Delft – Preventing spills of plastic pellets: a feasibility analysis of regulatory options 2023 – Report

The PPR, a Subcommittee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is considering regulatory options to address the release of pellets…

Fidra – Maritime Solutions: Classification of pellets as harmful at sea – Solutions to Pellet Pollution Series Webinar

This is our first webinar in the ‘Solutions to pellet pollution series’.

Speakers discuss the importance of maritime solutions in preventing plastic pellet spills at sea.

Fauna and Flora – IMO petition messaging

Fauna and Flora petition to influence the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to classify plastic pellets as a marine pollutant. The…

Webinar: Responding to environmental disasters – acute pellet spills

Join Fidra and guest speakers to learn what a acute plastic pellet spill is, how civil society plays an important…


BBC News – X-press Pearl 10th June 2021 – News Article

In the summer of 2021, off the coast of Sri Lanka a cargo ship caught fire. The ship was carrying…

KIMO – Plastic pellets spill pollutes Danish, Norwegian, Swedish coastlines – News Article

On 23rd February 2020, the MV Trans Carrier lost more than 10 tonnes of plastic pellets in the German Bight…

Fidra – Nurdle spill off the Coast of Dubai – News Article

On 18th February 2023, Dubai’s coastline woke up to a sea of nurdles, with limited information on the scale of this spill, many are…

Fauna & Flora – Petition calling for the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to end plastic pellet pollution

It’s critical that decisive action is taken as quickly as possible to classify plastic pellets as a marine pollutant and bring in stricter shipping regulations.