Pollution Prevention


Regulation 26 Annexe I MARPOL


Regulation 26 Annex 1 MARPOL 73/78

Shipboard oil pollution emergency plan

(1) 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 of own country.

(2) Such a plan shall be written in the working language of the master and officers. 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 pollution incident,

(b) the list of authorities or persons to be contacted in the event of an oil 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 following the incident; and

(d) the procedures and point of contact on the ship for coordinating shipboard action with national and local authorities in combating the pollution.

Shipboard oil pollution emergency plans (SOPEP)


Implementation of MARPOL 73/78 and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty as it Pertains to Pollution from Ships

Shipboard oil pollution emergency plans.

Language of the plan.

The shipboard oil pollution emergency plan must be available on board in English and in the working language of the master and the officers of the ship, if other than English.

Plan format.

The plan must contain the following six sections.

A seventh non-mandatory section may be included at the ship owner’s discretion


This section must contain the following:

Introductory text.

The introductory text of the plan must contain the following language:

The purpose of the plan is to provide guidance to the master and officers on board the ship with respect to the steps to be taken when a pollution incident has occurred or is likely to occur.

The plan contains all information and operational instructions required by the guidelines (Resolution MEPC.54 (32)). The appendices contain names, telephone numbers, telex numbers, etc. of all contacts referenced in the plan, as well as other reference material.

This plan has been approved by the Administration and, except as provided below, no alteration or revision may be made to any part of it without the prior approval of the Administration.

Changes to the seventh section of the plan and the appendices do not require approval by the Administration.

The owners, operators, and managers must maintain the appendices up-to-date.


General information.

The ship’s name, call sign, official number, International Maritime Organization (IMO) international number, and principal characteristics.


This section must contain an explanation of the purpose and use of the plan and indicate how the shipboard plan relates to other shore-based plans.

Reporting Requirements.

This section of the plan must include information relating to the following:

When to report.

A report shall be made whenever an incident involves—

A discharge of oil resulting from damage to the ship or its equipment, or for the purpose of securing the safety of a ship or saving life at sea;

A discharge of oil during the operation of the ship in excess of the quantities or instantaneous rate permitted; or

A probable discharge

Factors to be considered in determining whether a discharge is probable include, but are not limited to: ship location and proximity to land or other navigational hazards, weather, tide, current, sea state, and traffic density.

The master must make a report in cases of collision, grounding, fire, explosion, structural failure, flooding or cargo shifting, or an incident resulting in failure or breakdown of steering gear, propulsion, electrical generating system, or essential Shipborne navigational aids.

Information required.

This section of the plan must include a notification form that contains information to be provided in the initial and follow-up notifications.

The initial notification should include as much of the information on the form as possible, and supplemental information, as appropriate.

However, the initial notification must not be delayed pending collection of all information.

Copies of the form must be placed at the location(s) on the ship from which notification may be made.


Whom to contact

This section of the plan must make reference to the appendices listing coastal state contacts, port contacts, and ship interest contacts.

For actual or probable discharges of oil, the reports must comply with the procedures described in MARPOL Protocol I.

Steps to control a discharge.

This section of the plan must contain a discussion of procedures to address the following scenarios:

Operational spills: The plan must outline procedures for removal of oil spilled and contained on deck. The plan must also provide guidance to ensure proper disposal of recovered oil and cleanup materials;

Pipe leakage: The plan must provide specific guidance for dealing with pipe leakage;

Tank overflow: The plan must include procedures for dealing with tank overflows. It must provide alternatives such as transferring cargo or bunkers to empty or slack tanks, or readying pumps to transfer the excess ashore;

Steps to control a discharge.

This section of the plan must contain a discussion of procedures to address the following scenarios:

Hull leakage: The plan must outline procedures for responding to spills due to suspected hull leakage, including guidance on measures to be taken to reduce the head of oil 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 must also be provided. Procedures for dealing with suspected hull fractures must be included. These procedures must take into account the effect of corrective actions on hull stress and stability.

Spills resulting from casualties:

Each of the casualties listed below must be treated in the plan, as a separate section comprised of various checklists or other means, which will ensure that the master considers all appropriate factors when addressing the specific casualty.

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 in the following situations:


Fire or explosion;


Hull failure; and

Excessive list.

In addition to the checklist and personnel duty assignments required, the plan must include:

Priority actions to ensure the safety of personnel and the ship, assess the damage to the ship, and take appropriate further action;

Information for making damage stability and longitudinal strength assessments, or contacting classification societies to acquire such information.

Nothing in this section shall be construed as creating a requirement for damage stability plans or calculations beyond those required by law or regulation;

Lightening procedures to be followed in cases of extensive structural damage. The plan must contain information 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 must be kept in the plan. The plan must address the coordination of this activity with the coastal or port state, as appropriate.

National and Local Coordination

This section of the plan must contain information to assist the master in initiating action by the coastal State, local government, or other involved parties. This information must include guidance to assist the master with organizing a response to the incident should a response not be organized by the shore authorities. Detailed information for specific areas may be included as appendices to the plan.

Twenty-four hour contact information and alternates to the designated contacts. These details must be routinely updated to account for personnel changes and changes in telephone, telex, and tele-facsimile numbers. Clear guidance must also be provided regarding the preferred means of communication.

The following lists, each identified as a separate appendix:

A list of agencies or officials of coastal state administrations responsible for receiving and processing incident reports;

A list of agencies or officials in regularly visited ports. When this is not feasible, the master must obtain details concerning local reporting procedures upon arrival in port; and

A list of all parties with a financial interest in the ship such as ship and cargo owners, insurers, and salvage interests.

A list which specifies who will be responsible for informing the parties listed and the priority in which they must be notified.

A record of annual reviews and changes.

Non-mandatory provisions.

If this section is included by the ship owner, it should include the following types of information or any other information that may be appropriate:


Response equipment or oil spill removal organizations;

Public affairs practices;

Record keeping;

Plan exercising; and

Individuals qualified to respond.

Index of sections

The plan must be organized.