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Spill Notification Point
Competent National Authority
Belize has a draft national contingency plan. This was developed in 2008 but as at 2015 had not been approved and is presently being updated. The updating is being conducted through the Department of the Environment (DOE) and involves input from multiple agencies.
The designated national authority charged with all aspects of environmental protection within the country, including response to marine oil pollution, is the DoE within the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries & Sustainable Development. In reality the lack of available expertise and resources ensures that a great deal of reliance is placed upon the oil industry and in particular Puma Energy and Belize Natural Energy Limited to respond to spills.
A Tier 1 response would be expected to be handled by the party responsible for the spill; the DoE would provide guidance and monitoring. For Tier 2 incidents the response would be handled both by the responsible party and the government. External assistance would be required in the case of major Tier 3 incidents. Presently, Belize has no MoUs in place with external organisations or regional groups to assist in this process. (Information from RAC-REMPEITC 2015)
Dispersant use is not permitted in Belize. No policy exists with regard to in-situ burning. Waste would be managed according to the Environmental Protection Act. (2015).
Government & Private
Minimal equipment is available in country and this is mostly owned by the private sector to respond to small scale spills at their facilities. A list of the equipment available from government and private sources is being developed as part of the update of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan.
Puma and Belize Natural Energy run exercises at least once at year at their depot locations. (2015)
Previous Spill Experience
Belize has not suffered from any major oil pollution incidents although small operational spills (<100 litres) do occur in port from time to time.
Hazardous & Noxious Substances (HNS)
Belize does not have a NCP for HNS incidents and no plan is expected in the near future. Priority has been given to completing and approving an oil spill NCP. No specialised equipment is available for HNS response. (2015)
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional and bilateral agreements
Cartagena Convention - the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean Region (a comprehensive, umbrella agreement for the protection and development of the marine environment with states of the Wider Caribbean Region).
Date of issue: December 2020
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