Spill Notification Point

For Oil & HNS

Direccion General del Territorio Maritimo y de Marina Mercante
Centro Nacional de Control de la Contaminación
Errázuriz 537

Tel: +56-32 208233/4 or +56-32 2208303 or +56-32 2209002

Alternatively, spills should be reported to the nearest regional DGTMMM centre.

Competent National Authority

Details as above.

Response Arrangements

Responsibility for marine pollution rests with the Department for Territorial Waters and Merchant Marine (DGTMMM), a branch of the Chilean Navy. The jurisdiction of DGTMMM covers all Chilean marine waters and navigable lakes including the shoreline as far as 80 metres inland from the high water mark. Responsibility is delegated to the 16 Gobernaciones Marítimas (Maritime governing regions) and to the 57 Capitanías de Puerto (Captains of the Port - COTP) located at the main ports.

The Chilean National Contingency Plan embodies five Regional Contingency Plans covering the entire length of the Chilean coastline. Each region has a Coordination Centre; Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt, Talcahuano, Valparaiso & Iquique. Several of theses are further divided into sub-centres. Each centre and some sub-centres are under the control of the regional Maritime Governor while daily management is the responsibility of the COTP. In the event of a spill he will usually assume the role of On Scene Commander (OSC), assisted by superintendents for operations, logistics and administrative support. If a Regional Contingency Plan is activated, DGTMMM will normally dispatch an experienced officer from Valparaiso to act as OSC or technical adviser, as appropriate. A Regional Contingency Plan will be activated if the spill exceeds 500 tonnes or if, in the experience of the maritime governor, the spill represents a potentially significant economic or environmental threat.

Response Policy

Due to the nature of the coastline, the prevailing sea state and tidal range, mechanical clean-up at sea is limited. Emphasis is given to combating oil pollution from land using both manual and mechanical methods. Aerial surveillance and the protection of sensitive coastal areas or those areas more difficult to clean is a major priority.

The use of dispersants is authorised by DGTMMM on a case-by-case basis with guidance from the Oceanology Institute of the University of Valparaiso. The use of these products is limited to an approved list and application is usually only allowed in offshore areas with strong currents.

Oily waste is generally disposed of in sanitary landfills close to the spill site. Clean, liquid oil has previously been salvaged via refinery API separators.



Dedicated oil spill clean-up equipment is maintained at each of the five DGTMMM Regional Coordination Centres. These consist of inshore boom and skimmers, dispersant and spraying equipment. There is little capability for a major offshore response.


Operating oil companies hold limited amounts of containment and recovery equipment for response to spills at their facilities. Shell, ESSO & COPEC have formed a cooperative to share equipment and expertise for spill response. Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP), the national oil company, is a member of ARPEL, a reciprocal agreement between Latin American oil companies, based in Montevideo, and can call upon this organisation and its member companies for advice and resources.

Previous Spill Experience

The METULA (1974) spilt 53,500 tonnes of crude in the Magellan Straits. Over 250km of shoreline was affected but virtually no clean-up occurred. The CABO PILAR (1987) spilt approximately 4,900 tonnes of crude, again, in the Magellan Straits. Inshore mechanical recovery and dispersant application was undertaken. Oil impacting the shoreline was left to degrade naturally. In 2001 JOSE FUCHS touched bottom whilst passing through the Moraleda Channel in Southern Chile.  Early official reports estimated that 150 tonnes of its Canadian Seco crude oil cargo was spilled.  A limited quantity of dispersant was applied around the vessel, but poor weather conditions prevented much at-sea response.  There was patchy contamination of 10-20km of shoreline.  Because of the remote location, clean-up crews of about 120 men were supported by tugs, barges and other vessels which provided accommodation, food and logistical support for the clean-up and the transport of wastes for disposal. BERGE NICE (2004) suffered a collision in the Straits of Magellan, spilling an estimated 160 tonnes of HFO380 which contaminated an 11km stretch of beach.  Cleanup was completed within two months and an environmental monitoring programme was put in place. The unladen, ballasted bulk carrier EIDER (2005) went aground off the port of Antofagasta, appalling approximately 200 tonnes of bunker fuel. The Chilean Navy mounted an at-sea response, spraying dispersants from two of its patrol boats.  Shoreline clean-up began on the day of the incident and a bird cleaning operation was also mounted.

Hazardous & Noxious Substances

Responsibility for HNS response would fall to the DGTMMM and would follow the same procedures as oil spill response.  A national contingency plan for HNS incidents is currently being drafted by the authorities; this will be a separate document to the current oil spill contingency plan but will follow a similar format (Information from 2010).  Emphasis would be given to HNS incidents in ports and their surrounding areas, as, due to the nature of the coastline, the prevailing sea state and tidal range, clean-up operations at sea would be limited. Some private port facilities already have approved contingency plans for HNS on a local and regional scale. Available oil spill response equipment would also be used for HNS incidents. 


Prevention & Safety

MARPOL Annexes

Spill Response



'69 '76 '92 '92Fund

* not yet in force 

Regional & Bilateral Agreements

  • Quito Convention (with states bordering the South East Pacific).
  • Operative Network for Regional Cooperation among Maritime Authorities of South America, Mexico, Panama & Cuba (ROCRAM).

Date of issue: August 2010

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