National Contingency Plan

The IMO Manual on Oil Pollution – Section II – Contingency Planning, provides details for the development of a National Contingency Plan for Oil spills (Chapter two and Appendix 2). Below excerpts of the Chapter of the Manual.

 Responsibilities of the competent National Authority

Once designed within the National Preparedness and Response System, the Competent National Authority has overall responsibility for response to oil and HNS spill emergencies and the authority to make and implement decisions to mitigate the impact of the spills.

 Spill risk assessment

Governments should begin the development of their national contingency plan or its update with an assessment of the risk of Oil and HNS spills in the waters and , if applicable, terrestrial and other areas over which they have jurisdiction. 

 Notification , reporting and alerting,

Notification of a marine emergency which could result or has resulted in Oil and HNS spillage can come from a number of sources and will typically need to be communicated to a variety of government agencies and representatives. The plan should a single agency which will receive and disseminate these such notifications or reports. The plan should also specify reporting content requirements.

 Spill assessment

A rapid assessment of an Oil or HNS spill is a of paramount importance in determining the most appropriate response tactics and strategies. The plan should include a section on spill assessment that summarises the key components of an assessment and surveillance programme.


 National spill response management organisation

The National Contingency Plan should explain the role of Competent National Authority, identify the various government agencies that could be involved in a response and delegated roles, responsibilities and authorities of each participating agency/organization.


Sensitivity maps

In planning for response to Oil and HNS Spills, knowledge of coastal environmental, socio economic and cultural sensitivities in the threatened area is essential to the development of an effective response strategy. National Contingency Plan and/ or associated legislation should mandate the preparation of sensitivity maps as well as the respective government agency(ies) responsible for developing them.


Response resources

Rapid access to response resources is critical to minimising spill impacts and implementing an effective response. The National Contingency Plan should describe the process by which response resources owned by or, available to, the government will be inventoried and available for rapid mobilisation.


Response strategies

A successful response strategy usually involves the use of multiple response techniques that have been selected and being the most effective at containing and/or removing the Oil or HNS, while minimising the negative effects of the spill and response operations to the environment. National Contingency Plan should provide information on governmental policies and any restrictions prohibitions preferences, authorisation requirements on the use of individual responses technics, where applicable.


Waste management

The National Contingency Plan should describe the government’s expectations for an effective waste management programme and identify or reference any regulatory requirements protocols associated with the characterisation, storage, transport and treatment, recycling or disposal of Oil and HNs spill wastes.


Demobilisation and termination of response

The National Contingency Plan should describe the general Process for the demobilization of response equipment and other resources.


Restoration and post-spill monitoring

Upon completion of the clean-up operations, some monitoring of the recovery and restauration of ecosystems within impacted areas may be necessary. Although restoration and post -spill monitoring activities are often conducted under regulatory regimes, that are separate from spill response, they can still be covered in the National Contingency Plan.


Training , exercising, record keeping and plan updating requirement 

The National Contingency Plan should include a section describing the training an exercise programme for the national response management organisation.


An outline of all the recommended elements of a National Contingency Plan is provided in the Appendix 2 of the Manual