1.1 These Guidelines have been developed to assist
with the preparation of shipboard oil pollution emergency plans, shipboard
marine pollution emergency plans for noxious liquid substances and/or
a shipboard marine pollution emergency plan (hereafter referred to
as the "Plan(s)") that are required by regulation
37 of Annex I and/or regulation
17 of Annex II of the International Convention for the Prevention
of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978
relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78) (hereafter
referred to as the "Convention"). The Plan (s) must be approved in
accordance with these regulations.
1.2 The Guidelines are comprised of three primary
.1 Introduction: This section provides a general
overview of the subject-matter and introduces the reader to the basic
concept of the Guidelines and the Plans that are expected to be developed
.2 Mandatory provisions: This section provides
guidance to ensure that the mandatory provisions of regulation 37 of Annex I and regulation 17 of Annex II of the
Convention are met.
.3 Non-mandatory provisions: This section provides
guidance concerning the inclusion of other information in the Plan.
This information, although not required under regulation 37 of Annex I and regulation 17 of Annex II of the
Convention, may be required by local authorities in ports visited
by the ship, or it may be added to provide additional assistance to
the ship's master when responding to an emergency situation. This
section also provides guidance on updating and exercising of the Plan.
1.3 Concept of the Guidelines: The Guidelines
are intended to provide a starting point for the preparation of the
Plans for specific ships. The broad spectrum of ships for which Plans
are required makes it impractical to provide specific guidelines for
each ship type. Plan writers are cautioned that they must consider
in their Plans the many variables that apply to their ships. Some
of these variables include: type and size of ship, cargo, cargo’s
physical properties (applicable only to ships certified to carry noxious
liquid substances (NLSs) in bulk as defined in regulation 17 of Annex II of the
Convention. Hereafter referred to as “ships certified to carry
NLSs”), route, and shore-based management structure. The Guidelines
are not intended to be a compilation of menu items from which the
Plan writer can select certain sections and produce a workable Plan.
For a Plan to be effective and to comply with regulation 37 of Annex I and/or regulation 17 of Annex II of the
Convention, it must be carefully tailored to the particular ship for
which it is intended. Properly used, the Guidelines will ensure that
all appropriate issues are considered in developing the Plan.
1.4 Concept of the Plan: The Plan is available
to assist personnel in dealing with an unexpected discharge of oil
or other noxious liquid substance. Its primary purpose is to set in
motion the necessary actions to stop or minimize the discharge and
to mitigate its effects. Effective planning ensures that the necessary
actions are taken in a structured, logical, safe and timely manner.
1.4.1 The Plan must go beyond providing for operational
spills. It must include guidance to assist the master in meeting the
demands of a catastrophic discharge, should the ship become involved
1.4.2 The need for a predetermined and properly
structured Plan is clear when one considers the pressures and multiple
tasks facing personnel confronted with an emergency situation. In
the heat of the moment, lack of planning will often result in confusion,
mistakes, and failure to advise key people. Delays will be incurred
and time will be wasted; time during which the situation may well
worsen. As a consequence, the ship and its personnel may be exposed
to increasing hazards and greater environmental damage may occur.
1.4.3 For the Plan to accomplish its purpose,
it must be:
.1 realistic, practical, and easy to use;
.2 understood by ship management personnel, both
on board and ashore; and
.3 evaluated, reviewed, and updated regularly.
1.4.4 The Plans envisioned by regulation 37 of Annex I and/or regulation 17 of Annex II of the
Convention are intended to be simple documents. Use of summarizing
flowcharts or checklists to guide the master through the various actions
and decisions required during an incident response is highly encouraged.
These can provide a quickly visible and logically sequenced form of
information which can reduce error and oversight during emergency
situations. Inclusion of extensive background information on the ship,
cargo, etc., should be avoided as this is generally available elsewhere.
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.
1.4.5 An example of a summarizing flowchart referred
to in paragraph 1.4.4 is included in the Example Format for a Shipboard
Marine Pollution Emergency Plan at appendix
1.4.6 The Plan is likely to be a document used
on board by the master and officers of the ship. 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 language(s).
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 a marine 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 (1969 Intervention Convention) and the Protocol relating
to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Pollution by Substances
other than Oil, 1973 (1973 Intervention Protocol)."