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Statutory Documents - IMO Publications and Documents - Guidelines - SMPEP - Guidelines for the Development of Shipboard Marine Pollution Emergency Plans for Oil and/or Noxious Liquid Substances (Adopted on 13 March 2000)Resolution MEPC.85(44) - 2 Mandatory Provisions of Regulation 37 of Annex I And Regulation 17 of Annex II to the Convention

2 Mandatory Provisions of Regulation 37 of Annex I And Regulation 17 of Annex II to the Convention

  2.1 This section provides individual guidelines for each of the four mandatory provisions of regulation 37 of Annex I and regulation 17 of Annex II of the Convention.

  2.2 Regulation 37 of Annex I and regulation 17 of Annex II of the Convention provide that the Plan shall consist at least of:

  • (a) the procedure to be followed by the master or other persons having charge of the ship to report an oil or noxious liquid substance pollution incident, as required in article 8 and Protocol I of the present Conventionfootnote, based on Guidelines developed by the Organizationfootnote;

  • (b) the list of authorities or persons to be contacted in the event of an oil or noxious liquid substance pollution incident;

  • (c) a detailed description of the action to be taken immediately by persons on board to reduce or control the discharge of oil or noxious liquid substance following the incident; and

  • (d) the procedures and point of contact on the ship for co-ordinating shipboard activities with national and local authorities in combating oil or noxious liquid substance pollution."

  2.3 The coastal State report: Article 8 and Protocol I of the Convention require that the nearest coastal State be notified of actual or probable discharges. The intent of this requirement is to ensure that coastal States are informed without delay, of any incident giving rise to pollution, or threat of pollution, of the marine environment, as well as of assistance and salvage measures, so that appropriate action may be taken.

  • 2.3.1 When required: The Plan should provide clear, concise guidance to enable the master to determine when a report to the coastal State is required.

    • Actual discharge: A report to the nearest coastal State is required whenever there is:

      • .1 a discharge above the permitted level of oil or noxious liquid substance for whatever reason including those for the purpose of securing the safety of the ship or saving life at sea; or

      • .2 a discharge during the operation of the ship of oil or noxious liquid substance in excess of the quantity or instantaneous rate permitted under the present Conventionfootnote.

    • Probable discharge: The Plan should give the master guidance to evaluate a situation which, though not involving an actual discharge, would qualify as a probable discharge and thus require a report. In judging whether there is such a probability and whether the report should be made, the following factors, as a minimum, should be taken into account:

      • .1 the nature of the damage, failure or breakdown of the ship, machinery or equipment;

      • .2 ship location and proximity to land or other navigational hazards;

      • .3 weather, tide, current and sea state; and

      • .4 traffic density.

    • It is impracticable to lay down precise definitions of all types of situations involving probable discharge which would warrant an obligation to report. As a general guideline, the master should make a report in cases of:

      • .1 damage, failure or breakdown which affects the safety of ships; examples of such situations are collision, grounding, fire, explosion, structural failure, flooding, cargo shifting; and

      • .2 failure or breakdown of machinery or equipment which results in impairment of the safety of navigation; examples of such incidents are failure or breakdown of steering gear, propulsion, electrical generating system, essential shipborne navigational aids.

  • 2.3.2 Information required: The Plan must specify, in appropriate detail, the procedure for making the initial report to the coastal State. The Organization's Guidelines in resolution A.851(20) provide necessary detail for the Plan writer. The Plan should include a prepared message form, an example of which is included at appendix II to these Guidelines. Coastal States are encouraged to take note of table 1 of appendix II and accept this as sufficient initial information. Supplementary or follow-up reports should as far as possible use the same format.

  2.4 List of persons to be contacted

  • 2.4.1 The ship involved in an oil or noxious liquid substance pollution incident will have to communicate with both coastal State or port contacts and ship interest contacts.

  • 2.4.2 When compiling contact lists, due account must be taken of the need to provide 24-hour contact information and to provide alternates to the designated contact. These details must be routinely updated to take account of personnel changes and changes in telephone, telex, and telefax numbers. Clear guidance should also be provided regarding the preferred means of communication (telex, telephone, telefax, etc.).

  • 2.4.3 Coastal State contacts

    • In order to expedite response and minimize damage from an oil or noxious liquid substance 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.

    • The Plan should include as an appendix the list of agencies or officials of administrations responsible for receiving and processing reports as developed and updated by the Organization in conformance with article 8 of the Convention. In the absence of a listed focal point, or should any undue delay be experienced in contacting the responsible authority by direct means, the master should be advised to contact the nearest coastal radio station, designated ship movement reporting station or rescue co-ordination centre (RCC) by the quickest available means.

  • 2.4.4 Port contacts

    • For ships in port, notification of local agencies will speed response. The variety of trades in which ships engage makes it impractical to specify in these Guidelines a definitive approach to listing these agencies in the Plan. Information on regularly visited ports should be included as an appendix to the Plan. Where this is not feasible, the Plan should require the master to obtain details concerning local reporting procedures upon arriving in port.

  • 2.4.5 Ship interest contacts

    • The Plan should provide details of all parties with an interest in the ship to be advised in the event of an incident. This information should be provided in the form of a contact list. When compiling such lists, it should be remembered that in the event of a serious incident, ship's personnel will be fully engaged in saving life and taking steps to control and minimize the effects of the casualty. They should therefore not be hampered by having onerous communications requirements imposed on them.

    • Procedures will vary between companies but it is important that the Plan clearly specifies who will be responsible for informing the various interested parties such as cargo owners, insurers and salvage interests. It is also essential that both the ship's Plan and its company's shoreside Plan are co-ordinated to guarantee that all parties having an interest are advised and that duplication of reports is avoided.

  2.5 Steps to control discharge

  • 2.5.1 Ship personnel will almost always be in the best position to take quick action to mitigate or control the discharge of oil or noxious liquid substance from their ship. The Plan should provide the master with clear guidance on how to accomplish this mitigation for a variety of situations. The Plan should not only outline action to be taken, but it should also identify who on board is responsible so that confusion during the emergency can be avoided.

  • 2.5.2 This section of the Plan will vary widely from ship to ship. Differences in ship type, construction, cargo, equipment, manning, and even route may result in shifting emphasis being placed on various aspects of this section. As a minimum, the Plan should provide the master with guidance to address the following:

    • .1 Operational spills: The Plan should outline the procedures for safe removal of oil or noxious liquid substance spilled and contained on deck. This may be through the use of on-board resources or by hiring a clean-up company. In either case the Plan should provide guidance to ensure proper disposal of removed oil, noxious liquid substances and clean-up materials.

      • .1.1 Pipe leakage: The Plan should provide specific guidance for dealing with pipe leakage.

      • .1.2 Tank overflow: Procedures for dealing with tank overflows should be included. Alternatives such as lowering cargo or bunkers back to empty or slack tanks or readying pumps to transfer the excess ashore should be outlined.

      • .1.3 Hull leakage: The Plan should provide guidance for responding to spillage due to suspected hull leakage. This may involve guidance on measures to be taken to reduce the head of cargo in the tank involved either by internal transfer or discharge ashore. Procedures to handle situations where it is not possible to identify the specific tank from which leakage is occurring should also be provided. Procedures for dealing with suspected hull fractures should be included and they should carry appropriate cautions regarding attention to the effect corrective actions may have on hull stress and stability.

    • .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 casualtyfootnote. These checklists must be tailored to the specific ship and to the specific product or product types. Especially for the ships certified to carry NLSs, the checklists or other means e.g., "Characteristics of Liquid Chemicals Proposed for Marine Transport in Bulk" (Data Sheet), should identify physical properties, special protective equipment or unusual response techniques in a format consistent with the requirements of section 1.4.4 of these Guidelines. Reference may be made to Data Sheet or similar documents that identify characteristics of NLS. A copy of such document should be kept with the plan, but need not be part of the approved plan. 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:

      • .2.1 grounding;

      • .2.2 fire/explosion;

      • .2.3 collision (with fixed or moving object);

      • .2.4 hull failure;

      • .2.5 excessive list;

      • .2.6 containment system failure;

      • .2.7 dangerous reactions of cargo (for ships certified to carry NLSs);

      • .2.8 other hazardous cargo release (for ships certified to carry NLSs);

      • .2.9 loss of tank environmental control (for ships certified to carry NLSs);

      • .2.10 submerged/foundered;

      • .2.11 wrecked/stranded;

      • .2.12 cargo contamination yielding a hazardous condition (for ships certified to carry NLSs); and

      • .2.13 hazardous vapour release.

  • 2.5.3 In addition to the checklists and personnel duty assignments mentioned in paragraph 2.5.2, the Plan should provide the master with guidance concerning priority actions, stability and stress considerations, lightening and mitigating activities.

    • Priority actions: This section provides some general considerations that apply to a wide range of casualties. The Plan should provide ship-specific guidance to the master concerning these broad topics.

      • .1 In responding to a casualty, the master's priority will be to ensure the safety of personnel and the ship and to take action to prevent escalation of the incident. In casualties involving spills, immediate consideration should be given to measures aimed at preventing fire, personnel exposure to toxic vapours, and explosion, such as altering course so that the ship is upwind of the spilled cargo, shutting down non-essential air intakes, etc. If the ship is aground, and cannot therefore manoeuvre, all possible sources of ignition should be eliminated and action should be taken to prevent toxic vapours or flammable vapours entering accommodation and engine-room spaces. When it is possible to manoeuvre, the master, in conjunction with the appropriate shore authorities, may consider moving his ship to a more suitable location in order, for example, to facilitate emergency repair work or lightening operations, or to reduce the threat posed to any particularly sensitive shoreline areas. Such manoeuvring may be subject to coastal State jurisdiction (see paragraph 1.4.7).

      • .2 Prior to considering remedial action, the master will need to obtain detailed information on the damage sustained by his ship. A visual inspection should be carried out and all cargo tanks, bunker tanks, and other compartments should be sounded. Due regard should be paid to the indiscriminate opening of ullage plugs or sighting ports, especially when the ship is aground, as loss of buoyancy could result.

      • .3 Having assessed the damage sustained by the ship, the master will be in a position to decide what action should be taken to prevent or minimize further discharge. When bottom damage is sustained, hydrostatic balance will be achieved (depending on physical properties) fairly rapidly, especially if the damage is severe, in which case the time available for preventive action will often be limited. When significant side damage is sustained in the way of fuel/lubrication and/or cargo tanks, bunkers or cargo will be released fairly rapidly until hydrostatic balance is achieved and the rate of release will then reduce and be governed by the rate at which bunkers or cargo is displaced by water flowing in under the bunkers or cargo. When the damage is fairly limited and restricted, for example, to one or two compartments, consideration may be given to transferring the substance involved internally from damaged to intact tanks. When considering the transfer of oil or noxious liquid substances from a damaged tank to an intact tank, the master should consider (see paragraph 1.4.7):

        • .3.1 the extent of the damage;

        • .3.2 hydrostatic balance;

        • .3.3 the ship's ability to transfer cargo; and

        • .3.4 the physical properties of the substance(s) (for ships certified to carry NLSs) involved such as:

          • .1 solubility;

          • .2 density;

          • .3 water reactivity;

          • .4 solidification; and

          • .5 compatibility.

    • Stability and strength considerations: Great care in casualty response must be taken to consider stability and strength when taking actions to mitigate the spillage of oil or noxious liquid substance or to free the ship if aground. The Plan should provide the master with detailed guidance to ensure that these aspects are properly considered. Nothing in this section shall be construed as creating a requirement for damage stability plans or calculations beyond those required by relevant international conventions.

      • .1 Internal transfers should be undertaken only with a full appreciation of the likely impact on the ship's overall longitudinal strength and stability. When the damage sustained is extensive, the impact of internal transfers on stress and stability may be impossible for the ship to assess. Contact may have to be made with the owner or operator or other entity in order that information can be provided so that damage stability and damage longitudinal strength assessments may be made. These could be made within the head office technical departments. In other cases, classification societies or independent organizations may need to be contacted. The Plan should clearly indicate who the master should contact in order to gain access to these facilities. Additionally, in the case of ships certified to carry NLSs, consideration as to the compatibility of all substances involved such as cargoes, bunkers, tanks, coatings, piping, etc., must also be considered before such an operation is undertaken.

      • .2 Where appropriate, the Plan should provide a list of information required for making damage stability and damage longitudinal strength assessments.

    • Lightening: Should the ship sustain extensive structural damage, it may be necessary to transfer all or part of the cargo to another ship. The Plan should provide guidance on procedures to be followed for ship-to-ship transfer of cargo. Reference may be made in the Plan to existing company guides. A copy of such company procedures for ship-to-ship transfer operations should be kept with the Plan. The Plan should address the need for co-ordinating this activity with the coastal State, as such operation may be subject to its jurisdiction.

    • Mitigating activities: When the safety of both the ship and personnel has been addressed, the master can initiate mitigating activities according to the guidance given by the plan. The plan should address such aspects as:

      • .1 assessment and monitoring requirements;

      • .2 personnel protection issues:

        • .1 protective equipment; and

        • .2 threats to health and safety.

      • .3 physical properties of the substance (for ships certified to carry NLSs) involved such as:

        • .1 solubility;

          • .2 density;

          • .3 water reactivity;

          • .4 solidification; and

          • .5 compatibility

      • .4 containment and other response techniques (e.g. dispersing, absorbing, neutralization);

      • .5 isolation procedures;

      • .6 decontamination of personnel; and

      • .7 disposal of removed oil, noxious liquid substances and clean-up materials.

  • 2.5.4 In order to have the necessary information available to respond to the situations referred to in paragraph 2.5.2, certain plans, drawings, and ship-specific details such as, a layout of a general arrangement plan, a tank plan, etc., should be appended. The Plan should show where current cargo, bunker and ballast information, including quantities and specifications, are available.

  2.6 National and local co-ordination: Quick, efficient co-ordination between the ship and coastal State or other involved parties becomes vital in mitigating the effects of an oil or noxious liquid substances pollution incident. The Plan should address the need to contact the coastal State for authorization prior to undertaking mitigating actions (see paragraph 1.4.7).

  • 2.6.1 The identities and roles of various national and local authorities involved vary widely from State to State and even from port to port. Approaches to responsibility for discharge response also vary. Some coastal States have agencies that take charge of response immediately and subsequently bill the owner for the cost. In other coastal States, responsibility for initiating response is placed on the shipowner. In the case of the latter the Plan will require greater detail and guidance to assist the master in organizing this response.

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