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Spill Notification Point
Alternatively, spills may be reported to the Maritime Traffic department in Buenos Aires:
Tel: +54 1 143187588
Competent National Authority
The Prefectura Naval Argentina (PNA) is the competent authority (specifically the Directorate for Environmental Protection) and administers the National Contingency Plan (NCP) for dealing with pollution by oil and other noxious substances in marine and freshwater environments.
The Prefectura Naval Argentina consists of two branches; one section deals with policy and implementing the international Conventions; the other has an operational role and is responsible for planning and responding to pollution incidents (Operations Directorate). This department has 19 Rescue, Firefighting and Environmental Protection stations (SIPA) located in the principal ports.
The National Contingency Plan (PLANACON) was adopted in 1998. It states that clean up operations must be carried out by the company responsible for the accident (in practice, the polluter) or by an appointee. Hence, in the case of a spill the PNA will ask the owners or the registered owners of the ship (or the local shipagents) to state in writing whether they will perform the tasks directly or through an appointed company or whether they will not, in which case the PNA will step in to perform them and then charge the owners for the expenses incurred. In addition to the obligations of shipowners under MARPOL Annex 1 to have SOPEPs, PLANACON requires all Argentine and foreign flagged oil tankers trading regularly to Argentina to have in place an approved contingency plan identifying a qualified individual (and alternate) who inter alia must be resident in Argentina and speak Spanish, and showing a contract (or other approved means) with an oil spill response organisation (OSRO). This also applies to all Argentine offshore rigs, ports, berths with oil/chemical discharge facilities, and oil and chemical terminals. Annual surveys are made to verify that suitable response arrangements are in place. From June 2007, this also applies to ships and facilities handling vegetable oils. Ships trading irregularly to Argentina must also arrange cover with a PNA-approved OSRO prior to entering Argentine waters. Until such time as the OPRC-HNS Protocol is in force in Argentina, the above requirements do not apply to tank vessels engaged in the international transport of HNS.
Protective booming of sensitive areas and recovery of oil on the water is seen as a priority. All techniques are used and response to previous spills has involved dispersant application from both vessels and aircraft. The use of dispersants is prohibited in Special Protection Zones (ZPE) along the coast, in marine waters less than 10m deep and in fresh water, and permission from the PNA must first be obtained for their use.
The PNA operates a number of coastguard ships, of varying sizes, equipped with dispersant spraying apparatus. It also maintains 3 tugs equipped to lay booms and spray dispersants, a variety of other vessels suitable for responding to pollution incidents, and a laboratory ship equipped for water analysis.
The PNA maintains 3 twin-engine aircraft for aerial surveillance as well as 2 fixed wing aircraft and 4 helicopters based strategically and equipped with dispersant spraying apparatus.
Several cooperation agreements exist between the PNA and oil companies for the provision of equipment.
YPF operates several vessels capable of spraying dispersant and an aircraft with a similar capability based in Buenos Aires. In addition, YPF is a member of ARPEL, a regional association between oil and gas companies in Latin American and the Caribbean, and can call upon this organisation and its member companies for advice and resources. Shell CAPSA also has equipment stockpiles at various locations.
There are a number of private contractors in Argentina, including, CINTRA, CLEAN SEA and Bahía Petróleo. They have bases strategically positioned around the country to provide rapid mobilisation.
Previous Spill Experience
The PRESIDENTE ARTURO UMBERTO ILLIA (1992) spilt 700 tons of crude oil after discharge hoses ruptured at Puerto Rosales. Dispersant was applied by vessel and aircraft. The oiled shoreline was cleaned manually. The oil tanker LITORAL (1996),spilt approximately 400 tons of fuel oil after a collision in the approaches to the River Plate. Some containment and recovery operations were organised before the oil was lost at sea. The CAMPO DURAN (1997) lost 150 tonnes of fuel oil in Dock Sud after a valve was left open during transfer. A local contractor was engaged to undertake cleanup operations in the port. In 1999 a collision in the River Plate involving the ESTRELLA PAMPEANA resulted in the loss of ~2,500m³ of crude oil. Limited containment and recovery operations were carried out offshore before the oil stranded in marshes and canals along the coast. Shoreline cleanup was primarily manual using resources, equipment and personnel supplied by CCI (a consortium of companies including YPF), Shell CAPSA and PNA. In 2014/15 there were a number of bunker spill incidents in the Paraná River.
Hazardous & Noxious Substances (HNS)
Contingency arrangements for a HNS incident will eventually be incorporated into the current NCP. The PNA, with the support of private contractors, will manage the response to and monitoring of a HNS incident and some equipment is already available from the PNA and private contractors (such as PPE, respirators, pumps, power packs and air monitoring equipment). The PNA is currently engaged in a programme of training and exercises in preparation for spills of both oil and HNS
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional and bilateral agreements
- An agreement exists with Uruguay for response in the River Plate through cooperation between the PNA and PNN (Uruguay).
- Operative Network for Regional Cooperation among Maritime Authorities of South America, Mexico, Panama & Cuba (ROCRAM).
Date of issue: December 2015
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