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Spill Notification Point
Maritime Emergency & Rescue Coordination Centre
4/F, Outer Island, Macau Ferry Terminal, Central District Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2233 7999 (24hr)
Fax: (852) 2541 7714
Competent National Authority
Pollution Control Unit
Marine Department Harbour Building, 38 Pier Road Central Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2542 3711
Fax: (852) 2541 7194
The Pollution Control Unit of the Marine Department of the Hong Kong government is the principal authority responsible for oil pollution matters. It has developed a maritime oil spill response plan (MOSRP) based upon the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention (OPRC 1990) and community involvement. Depending upon the seriousness of an incident, other government departments and also commercial interests, auxiliary services and the defence forces would also be involved. A level 1 spill will primarily involve Marine Department resources but place other specified departments / industry on alert. A level 2 spill, where the incident is beyond the capability of the Marine Department, will involve other interests and international help if required.
The Pollution Control Unit organises an annual oil spill response joint exercise with participants from government departments and local oil companies to test the preparedness of the government and private sector to handling major oil spills from ships.
Containment and recovery are the preferred response methods, but some reliance is placed on the use of dispersants. Only certain dispersants as approved by the Environmental Protection Department are be used. Dispersant spraying is to be specifically avoided, except as an absolute last resort, in the vicinity of mariculture, certain industrial water intakes and designated sites of Special Scientific Interest.
The Marine Department has outsourced its oil spill cleaning service and its contractor is well equipped with vessels and anti-pollution resources to deal with oil spills up to 5,500 tonnes. The Marine Department can also call upon government owned crafts which can be fitted with dispersant spraying equipment. In addition, the department owns extensive quantities of oil containment boom, skimming units of varying capacity and helicopter-slung dispersant applicators. The Flying Services of the Hong Kong government are detailed within the MOSRP to perform aerial surveillance, equipment transport and application of dispersant.
There are a number of private oil spill contractors in Hong Kong. Oil companies operating in Hong Kong also have a variety of oil pollution combating equipment, including that for containment, recovery and spraying.
Previous Spill Experience
The container vessel ADRIAN MAERSK (1977) grounded off Lamma Island spilling some 3,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil. Despite heavy dispersant application, oil impacted the shore and was cleaned using manual methods. The HOI FUNG No.1 (1990) barge sank within a typhoon shelter spilling 190 tonnes of waste lubrication oil. This was contained by the sea walls and cleaned by mechanical means.
Hazardous & Noxious Substances (HNS)
The government has formulated a “Maritime Hazardous and Noxious Substances Spill Response Plan” to combat pollution incidents by HNS in the waters of Hong Kong. The Marine Department, the Environmental Protection Department and the Fire Services Department would all be involved in HNS incidents at sea. As with oil spills, the Marine Department has an outsourcing arrangement with a private contractor for clean-up.
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional and bilateral agreements
The Marine Department has signed a co-operation agreement with the maritime administrations of Guangdong, Macao and Shenzhen to adopt a regional maritime oil spill response plan for the Pearl River estuary. The aim of this plan is to enhance regional cooperation and practice in the event of a major oil spill incident occurring in any of the neighbouring ports.
Date of issue: May 2013
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