AMENDMENTS TO THE GUIDELINES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SHIPBOARD OIL POLLUTION EMERGENCY PLANS
The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78) is a principal instrument established by IMO for preventing marine pollution. Regulation 26 of Annex I of this Convention requires that every oil tanker of 150 tons gross tonnage and above and every ship other than an oil tanker of 400 tons gross tonnage and above shall carry on board a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan approved by the Administration. It is pertinent to note that MARPOL 73/78 was amended to include the above-mentioned regulation 26 of Annex I as a consequence of article 3(1)(a) of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990 (OPRC Convention). This Convention contains a requirement that certain ships have on board a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan. The shipboard plan required under regulation 26 of Annex I of MARPOL 73/78 is the same shipboard oil pollution emergency plan that is required under article 3(1)(a) of the OPRC Convention.
Regulation 16 of Annex II of the Convention requires that every ship of 150 tons gross tonnage and above certified to carry noxious liquid substances in bulk shall carry on board a shipboard marine pollution emergency plan for noxious liquid substances approved by the Administration. A shipboard marine pollution emergency plan for noxious liquid substances should be combined with a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan since most of their contents are the same and only one combined plan on board is more practical than two separate plans in case of an emergency. In this case the title of such a combined plan should be “Shipboard marine pollution emergency plan” in order to distinguish it from a shipboard marine emergency plan for noxious liquid substances and a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan. Both regulation 26 of Annex I and regulation 16 of Annex II require that the plans be in accordance with guidelines developed by IMO.
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at its thirty-second session adopted Guidelines for the development of shipboard oil pollution emergency plans under cover of resolution MEPC.54(32) to meet the requirements of regulation 26 of Annex I.
The MEPC at its [forty-fourth] session prepared Guidelines for the development of shipboard marine pollution emergency plans to meet requirements of regulation 26 of Annex I and/or regulation 16 of Annex II on the basis of the Guidelines for oil. As a result of this review, the amendments to the Guidelines for the development of shipboard oil pollution emergency plans were also prepared by the MEPC at the same session to ensure uniform application of these regulations and guidelines.
It is also pertinent to note that shipboard oil pollution emergency plans which have already been approved by the Administration for oil tankers of 150 tons gross tonnage and above and ships other than oil tankers of 400 tons gross tonnage and above in accordance with the Guidelines for the development of shipboard oil pollution emergency plans adopted by resolution MEPC.54 (32) need not be modified in accordance with either these Guidelines or the Guidelines for the development of shipboard marine pollution emergency plans for oil and/or noxious liquid substances adopted by resolution MEPC.
Under the provisions of article 5 of the 1973 MARPOL Convention, a ship is required to hold a certificate in accordance with the provisions of regulations and, while in the ports or offshore terminals under the jurisdiction of a Party, is subject to inspection by officers duly authorized by that Party. In this context, the carriage of a shipboard oil pollution emergency plan should also be subject to such inspection.
These Guidelines contain information for the preparation of shipboard oil pollution emergency plans.
THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THESE GUIDELINES ARE:
- To assist ship owners in preparing shipboard oil pollution emergency plans in conformance with the cited regulations; and
- To assist Governments in developing and enacting domestic laws which give force to and implement the cited regulations.
In the interest of uniformity, Governments are requested to refer to these Guidelines when preparing appropriate national regulations.”
Paragraph 1.4, the last sentence is amended to read:
“Effective planning ensures that the necessary actions are taken in a structured, logical, safe and timely manner.”
Paragraph 1.4.4, the first sentence is amended to read:
“The Plan envisioned by regulation 26 of Annex I of the Convention is intended to be a simple document.”
Paragraph 1.4.4, the last sentence is amended to read:
“If such information is relevant, it should be kept in annexes where it will not dilute the ability of ship’s personnel to locate operative parts of the Plan.”
Paragraph 1.4.6, the second and the third sentences are amended to read:
“It must therefore be available in a working language or languages understood by the master and officers. A change in the master and officers which brings about an attendant change in their working language or languages understood would require the issuance of the Plan in the new languages. “
The following new paragraph 1.4.7 should be added after paragraph 1.4.6:
“1.4. 7 The Plan should clearly underline the following :
“Without interfering with shipowners’ liability, some coastal States consider that it is their responsibility to define techniques and means to be taken against an oil pollution incident and approve such operations which might cause further pollution, i.e., lightening. States are in general entitled to do so under the International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties, 1969 (Intervention Convention) .”
Paragraphs 220.127.116.11.1 is amended to read:
.1 a discharge of oil above the permitted level for whatever reason including those for the purpose of securing the safety of the ship or saving life at sea; or
Paragraph 18.104.22.168 is amended to read:
“22.214.171.124 In order to expedite response and minimize damage from a pollution incident, it is essential that appropriate coastal States should be notified without delay. This process is begun with the initial report required by article 8 and Protocol I of the Convention. Guidelines for making this report are provided in section 2.3.
Paragraph 126.96.36.199, the first sentence is amended to read:
“The Plan should outline the procedures for safe removal of oil spilled and contained on deck.”
Paragraph 188.8.131.52 is amended to read:
“.2 Spills resulting from casualties: Casualties should be treated in the Plan as a separate section. The Plan should include various checklists or other means which will ensure that the master considers all appropriate factors when addressing the specific casualty. These checklists must be tailored to the specific ship and to the specific product or product types. In addition to the checklists, specific personnel assignments for anticipated tasks must be identified. Reference to existing fire control plans and muster lists is sufficient to identify personnel responsibilities. The following are examples of casualties which should be considered:
2.3 Collision (with fixed or moving object);
2.4 Hull failure;
2.5 Excessive list;
2.6 Containment system failure;
2.9 Hazardous vapour release.”