The Mediterranean Technical Working Group (MTWG), coordinated by REMPEC, is a correspondence group, whose function is to facilitate the exchange of technical data and other scientific and technological information aimed at assessing the nature, exposure and risks from accidental marine pollution and promoting remedies for such pollution in the Mediterranean Sea area.

About MTWG

The Mediterranean Technical Working Group (MTWG) was established by the Eleventh Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (Malta, 27 - 30 October 1999, UNEP (OCA)/MED IG.12/9).

A number of regional agreements have set up similar permanent working groups of experts to exchange information regarding operational and technical questions, for instance

  1. the Bonn Agreement Working Group on Operational, Technical and Scientific Questions concerning Counter Pollution Activities (OTSOPA); and
  2. the Sea-based Pollution Group (HELCOM Sea) of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission).

The objective of the Mediterranean Technical Working Group is to provide at the Mediterranean level, a platform between Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, contributing to the improvement in preparedness for and response to accidental and deliberate pollution from ships, and to implement biennial programmes of work to be endorsed by the Meetings of the Focal Points of REMPEC on the basis of a consolidated report prepared by the Secretariat of the MTWG, through consultation by correspondence with interested delegations, international organizations and appropriate entities.

How it works

The Guidelines for the Mediterranean Technical Working Group adopted by the Eleventh Meeting of the Focal Points of REMPEC (Malta, 15- 17 June 2015), provides the method of work for the MTWG.

MTWG's programme of work and achievements

Programme of work 2020-2021

  1. test and enhance the communication system to be developed, in the framework of the West MOPoCo Project, including specific forms of the Mediterranean Guide on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Responding to Marine Pollution Incidents,
  2. contribute to the development of the Joint Inter-Regional HNS Response Manual and provide input, as necessary, to future sessions of the PPR Sub-Committee in developing the operational guide, an up to date compilation of best practices needed when preparing for or responding to spills of HNS, the proposal of which was agreed at MEPC 74.

Programme of work 2018-2019

  1. to contribute to the "Guide on practical methods for the implementation of the OPRC Convention and the OPRC-HNS Protocol".
  2. to contribute to a joint inter-regional effort to ensure updates of response manuals for HNS spills, taking into account the latest developments in the field of response to chemical spills, through the possible production of a joint manual based on existing guides and tools on HNS response.

Programme of work 2016-2017

  1. to update the Guidelines on Risk of gaseous releases resulting from marine incidents;
  2. to carry out a complete review of the Principles and Guidelines on cooperation and mutual assistance, including:
    1. Guidelines for Co-Operation in Combating Marine Oil Pollution in the Mediterranean, 1987;
    2. Principles and guidelines concerning cooperation and mutual assistance,1991;
    3. Guidelines concerning the Exchange of Liaison Officers between the Contracting Parties in case of Response Operations involving Several States,1995; and
    4. Guidelines concerning Arrangements which might be made with a view to ensuring, in case of an accident, liaison between the Governmental Authorities and other Interested Parties, 1995.


Programme of work 2012-2013

  1. develop a Regional Risk Assessment Methodology on the basis of the outcome of the Regional Workshop “MEDEXPOL 2011”;
  2. review the existing inventory of response means with a view to upgrade and update it for more efficiency in an emergency situation;
  3. identify recommendations, principles and guidelines available through the RIS that need to be developed, revised, updated and/or amended. 


Programme of work 2010-2011

  1. revision of the Guidelines for the Use of Dispersants for Combating Oil Pollution at Sea in the Mediterranean Region
  2. initialisation of the revision of the Mediterranean Integrated Decision Support Information System (MIDSIS-TROCS) Version 2.0


Programme of work 2008-2009

  1. develop Guidelines on Shorelines Cleanup Assessment;
  2. develop a Decision Support Tool on Waste Management; and
  3. develop Technical Guidelines on Sunken Oil Assessment and Removal Techniques. 


Programme of work 2005-2006, 2003-2004 and 2001-2002:

  1. an inventory of oil traded in Mediterranean ports or terminals;
  2. an inventory of bulk chemicals traded in Mediterranean ports or terminals;
  3. an inventory of the national legislations for the implementation of MARPOL 73/78, specifically Article 4 of the Convention on the prosecution of violations concerning illegal discharges.