The five countries of the South Asia Seas region, Bangladesh
, India , Maldives , Pakistan and Sri Lanka :
the need to preserve the human environment in general and
the marine environment in particular.
serious threat posed to the marine environment by oil pollution
incidents involving ships, offshore units, sea ports and
oil handling facilities.
OF the importance of precautionary
measures and prevention in avoiding oil pollution in the
first instance, and the need for strict application of
existing international instruments dealing with maritime
safety and marine pollution prevention, particularly the
International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea,
1974, as amended, and the International Convention for
the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified
by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto, as amended, and
also the speedy development of enhanced standards for the
design, operation and maintenance of ships carrying oil,
and of offshore units.
ALSO THAT , in the event of an
oil pollution incident, prompt and effective action is
essential in order to minimise the damage, which may result
from such an incident.
importance of effective preparation for combating oil pollution
incidents and the important role which the oil and shipping
industries have in this regard.
RECOGNISING ALSO the importance of mutual
assistance and international co-operation relating to matters
including the exchange of information respecting the capabilities
of States to respond to oil pollution incidents, the preparation
of oil pollution contingency plans, the exchange of reports
of incidents of significance which may affect the marine
environment or the coastline and related interests of States,
and research and development respecting means of combating
oil pollution in the marine environment.
IN MIND the relevant provisions
of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness,
Response and Co-operation, 1990 (OPRC Convention) and the
Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Co-operation to
Pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances,
2000 (OPRC-HNS Protocol) in particular article 10 of the
OPRC Convention and article 8 of the OPRC-HNS Protocol
related to the promotion of bilateral or multilateral agreements
for preparedness for and response to pollution incidents.
the "polluter pays" principle
as a general principle of international environmental law.
ACCOUNT ALSO of the importance
of international instruments on liability and compensation
for oil pollution damage, the International Convention
on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (1969) (CLC
Convention 69) and the Protocol of 1992 relating thereto
(CLC Protocol 92) and the International Convention on the
Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation
for Oil Pollution Damage (1971) (FUND Convention 71) and
the Protocol relating thereto (FUND Protocol 92).
ACCOUNT FURTHER of the Action
Plan for the South Asia Regional Seas Programme adopted
at a meeting of the concerned parties in New Delhi in March
1995, which agreed, inter alia, to develop and implement
National and Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plans.
AWARE of the need to promote regional
co-operation and to enhance existing national, and regional
capabilities concerning preparedness and response to marine
pollution incidents, taking into account the special needs
of the developing countries and particularly small island
FURTHER that regional oil
and chemical pollution contingency plans specifying in
advance operational arrangements, administrative modalities
and financial conditions related to co-operation in cases
of emergency, are necessary for a prompt and efficient
response to marine pollution at regional level.
THAT these objectives may
best be achieved by the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding.
AGREED as follows:
1.1 The Parties agree, subject to their
capabilities and availability of resources, to co-operate
in responding to major marine pollution incidents occurring
in their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), territorial seas
and internal waters which are affected or likely to affect
the marine environment, the coast or related interests
of one or more of the Parties.
1.2 The Parties to this
Memorandum of Understanding adopt the "Regional Oil and
Chemical Pollution Contingency Plan for South Asia " (hereinafter
referred to as "the Regional
Plan") attached to this Memorandum and which constitutes
an integral part of the Memorandum. Each Party will give
effect to the provisions of the Regional Plan. In cases
of major marine pollution incidents the Parties will
co-operate, in taking individually and jointly, the necessary
response measures according to the principles set out
in the Regional Plan.
1.3 Each Party agrees, in the event of a major marine
pollution incident, to inform through its competent authority
other Parties whose marine environment or interests are
affected or likely to be affected by such pollution incident.
Party agrees to establish a national system for responding
to marine pollution incidents including:
.1 the designation
of national competent authority or authorities; and
a national contingency plan
1.5 The Parties agree to
co-operate in keeping updated the Regional Plan.
1.6 The Parties agree to exchange information with other
Parties in order to improve the ability to respond to
pollution incidents within the Region.
2. Contingency Planning
2.1 The Parties should designate:
The competent national authority or authorities with
responsibility for oil pollution preparedness and response;
.2 the national operational contact point or points which
shall be responsible for the receipt and transmission of
pollution reports; and
.3 the competent authorities entitled
to act on behalf of the State concerning measures of
mutual assistance and co-operation between Parties.
2.2 The Parties will use their best
endeavours to maintain their ability to respond to pollution
incidents threatening the marine environment of the South
Asia Seas Area. This would include:
.1 making a risk
assessment regarding the traffic, offshore units, ports
and oil handling facilities;
.2 a minimum level of spill
response equipment capable of making a first response
proportionate to the risk involved;
capabilities to notify without delay any pollution incidents;
.4 programmes for training and exercises.
3. Reporting Marine Pollution
3.1 The Parties will require masters or other persons
having charge of ships flying their flags and persons having
charge of offshore units under their jurisdiction to report
to the relevant competent national authority without delay
any event on their ship or offshore units or any observed
event involving a discharge or probable discharge of oil
or other harmful substances.
3.2 The Parties will require pilots
of aircraft registered in their countries to report to
the relevant competent national authority without delay
significant spillages of oil or other harmful substances
observed at sea. Such reports should, as far as possible,
contain the following:
.1 date, time, position, wind and
sea conditions; and
.2 probable source of the spill observed
3.3 The Parties will require masters
of ships flying their flag or persons having charge of
offshore units under their jurisdiction in cases of pollution
incidents to provide, on request by the respective competent
national authorities, detailed information which is relevant
to actions for preventing or responding to pollution
of the sea such as:
.1 the ship and its cargo; or
.2 the production in case
of offshore units
3.4 The Parties whenever receiving a pollution report
.1 assess the nature, extent and possible
consequences of the pollution incident;
.2 take every
practicable measure to prevent, reduce and eliminate
the effect of the pollution incident; and
.3 inform without
delay other Parties whose interests are affected or likely
to be affected by the pollution incident of this assessment
and any action it has taken, or intends to take
4. Assistance and Co-operation
in Cases of Emergency :::
4.1 Any Party requiring assistance to deal with a pollution
incident may call for assistance from other Parties. Parties
so requested shall use their best endeavours to render
4.2 Assistance and co-operation in cases of emergency
amongst the Parties to this Memorandum will be carried
out in conformity with and according to the Regional Plan.
4.3 Nothing in this Memorandum of Understanding shall
inhibit Parties from calling for assistance from outside
the region if they judge that to be necessary.
4.4 Parties shall take necessary legal or administrative
measures to facilitate:
.1 the arrival and utilisation in and
departure from its territory of ships, aircraft and other
modes of transport engaged in responding to a pollution
incident or transporting personnel, cargoes, materials
and equipment required to deal with such an incident;
.2 the expeditious movement into, through, and out
of its territory of such personnel, cargoes, materials
5. Reimbursement of Cost
of Assistance :::
5.1 Unless otherwise agreed between Parties, the Parties
shall bear the cost of their respective actions in accordance
with subparagraph .1 or .2 below:
.1 If the action was taken by one Party
at the express request of another Party, the requesting
Party shall reimburse to the assisting Party the cost
of its action. If the request is cancelled the requesting
Party shall bear the costs already incurred or committed
by the assisting Party.
.2 If the action was taken by
a Party on its own initiative, this Party shall bear
the costs of its action.
.3 The principles laid down
above in subparagraph .1 and .2 shall apply unless the
Parties concerned otherwise agree in any individual case.
5.2 Unless otherwise agreed, the costs of the action taken
by a Party at the request of another Party will be calculated
and paid on the basis of the arrangements set out in the
Regional Contingency Plan.
5.3 The provisions of this regulation are without prejudice
to the rights of Parties to recover from third Parties
the cost of actions taken to deal with pollution incidents
under other applicable provisions and rules of national
and international law.
6. Exchange of Information
6.1 Parties according to the Regional Plan shall keep
each other informed at all times on at least those parts
of their respective national contingency plan which might
be relevant in case of conducting joint response operations,
including information on:
.1 competent national authorities,
responsible at government level for the implementation
of the Regional Plan and on responsible officers within
.2 national operational authorities,
responsible at the operational level for the implementation
of the Regional Plan and for exercising operational command
in case of joint response operations, and on responsible
officers within these authorities.
.3 national contact
points responsible for receiving reports of pollution
.4 designated national emergency response
.5 designated national on-scene commanders;
competent customs officers;
.7 inventories of pollution
response equipment and products, as well as other means
(such as, for example, vessels and aircraft) available
in each country for use in joint response operations;
directories of experts, trained personnel and strike
teams designated by each Party to take part in joint
response operations; and
.9 the charges for the various
services, personnel and equipment.
6.2 The Parties will
exchange information on relevant research and development
7. Joint Training and Exercises :::
7.1 The Parties agree to conduct periodically joint training
courses and joint exercises as planned under the Regional
8. Meetings of the Parties
8.1 Meetings of the Parties to this Memorandum of Understanding
and/or meetings of National Operational Authorities responsible
for the implementation of the Regional Plan, shall be held
at regular intervals, and as a minimum once a year as set
out in the Regional Plan.
9. Secretariat :::
9.1 The Parties designate the South
Asia Seas Programme (SASP), based in the South Asia Co-operative
Environment Programme (SACEP) Secretariat, acting under
the guidance of the meeting of the Parties, to provide
within the limits of its resources secretariat services,
.1 prepare meetings, circulate papers;
the exchange of information; and
.3 carry out such other
work as may be necessary
10. Relation to Other Conventions
and International Agreements :::
10.1 Nothing in this Memorandum shall be interpreted as
in any way prejudicing the rights or obligations of any
Party under any other convention or international agreement,
especially in the field of prevention and combating of
11. Amendments :::
11.1 Any government authority, which has accepted the
Memorandum, may propose amendments to it. The proposed
amendment shall be circulated to other Parties through
the Secretariat at least six months before a meeting of
11.2 Amendments will be adopted by the unanimous decision
of all Parties and will enter into force 60 days after
it has been adopted.
12. Signature, Ratification,
12.1 Government authorities of Bangladesh,
India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka may become parties
to this Memorandum by:
.1 signature without any reservation
as to acceptance; or
.2 signature subject to acceptance,
followed by formal acceptance.
13.1 This Memorandum shall be deposited with the Director
General of SACEP which shall inform all Parties of signature
and acceptance and the date of entry into force of the
14. Entry into Force and
This Memorandum of Understanding and the Regional Plan
will enter into force 3 months after the Secretariat, i.e.
the Secretariat of the South Asian Seas Programme (SASP),
has been notified by all five countries of their acceptance
of this Memorandum of Understanding in accordance with
their national legislations.
This Memorandum of Understanding will
remain in force for 3 years and will be extended automatically
on an annual basis unless one of the Parties notifies
the Secretariat that it wishes to withdraw from the co-operation.
WHEREOF the undersigned,
being duly authorised thereto by their respective governments
have signed this Memorandum of Understanding.
For the Government of Bangladesh..............................................................
For the Government of India.......................................................................
For the Government of Maldives .................................................................
For the Government of Pakistan .................................................................
For the Government of Sri Lanka ................................................................