Spill Notification Point

Spills should be reported to the appropriate port authority and to:

Departmento de Prevencion y Control de Contaminacion
Direccion General de la Marina Mercante Y del Litoral (DIGMER)
Malecon Simon Bolivar Y Clemente Ballen

Tel: +593-4 320400

Fax: +593-4 324246

Competent National Authority

Departmento de Prevencion y Control de Contaminacion
Direccion General de la Marina Mercante Y del Litoral (DIGMER)
Malecon Simon Bolivar Y Clemente Ballen

Tel: +593-4 320400

Fax: +593-4 324246

Response Arrangements

The Merchant Marine and Coastal Directorate (DIGMER), a part of the Ecuadorian Navy, is the responsible agency for preventing and controlling oil spills in the territorial waters of Ecuador including the Galapagos Islands. Within DIGMER, the Pollution Control Office has responsibility at the national level for pollution clean-up coordination.

All Port authorities, oil companies and terminal operators should operate a local contingency plan for their area of operations. Four regional zones have been recognised including the amazonal interior and the Galapagos Islands. The plans for these regions are applied when the location and magnitude of a spill is beyond the capability of a local plan. The main ports or terminals in each region, or operating oil company in the case of the Amazon, are responsible for these plans. The national contingency plan has been recently revised and acts as a link between the regional plans and to plans of neighbouring nations.

The position of On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) is determined by the level of contingency plan activated. At a local level this would be assumed by the Head of the Prevention & Control Unit of the organisation concerned i.e. port authority, oil terminal or oil company; at a regional level by the head of the body responsible for that region; and a national level by the head of the Department of Prevention and Control of Contamination within DIGMER.

There is a commitment from both government and industry to handle spills jointly. This has resulted in close cooperation between DIGMER, the national oil company PETROECUADOR and the Ecuador Coast Guard (ECG).

Discovery of oil in the economic and environmentally sensitive Gulf of Guayaquil led the interested agencies to prepare contingency plans for this area. DIGMER has drafted a general plan outlining monitoring, prevention and response. The ECG has developed an organisational plan clarifying responsibilities and communication between DIGMER, PETROECUADOR and the ECG. The ECG
are responsible for coordinating activities both offshore and along the coast. CEPE (Corporacion Estatal Petrolera Ecutoriana) has also drafted a separate plan for response to spills from platforms within the Gulf.

Response Policy

The growth in mariculture in the Gulf of Guayaquil and along the Ecuadorian coastline has now led to the use of dispersants - once a widely used option - being limited mainly to spills offshore. Spills in rivers and confined areas would be tackled using a mixture of mainly sorbent, skimmers and boom, with minimal amounts of dispersant. The use of dispersants on spills greater than 100 barrels requires prior permission from DIGMER. For spills of less than 100 bbl, dispersants may be used with later notification to DIGMER.



In Ecuador, every port authority, oil terminal and oil company must have its own local response centre complete with equipment to respond to a spill of oil. As such, resources are located at three main sites, Guayaquil, Balao (Esmeraldas), and La Libertad. This includes dispersant, dispersant application equipment, boom, skimmers and temporary storage units. The smaller ports/terminals of Manta, Salitral, Bolivar and Orellana maintain smaller stocks.


PETROECUADOR has a small stock of equipment at Guayaquil and is a member of ARPEL, a reciprocal agreement between Latin American oil companies, based in Montevideo, and can call upon this organisation and its members for advice and resources.

Previous Spill Experience

The ST. PETER (1976) spilt approximately 11,000 tonnes of Orito crude in Colombian waters. This drifted onto the Ecuadorian coastline which was cleaned with a combination of natural wave action, dispersant application and manual methods.


Prevention & Safety

MARPOL Annexes

Spill Response



'69 '76 '92 '92

* not yet in force 

Regional & Bilateral Agreements

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

Date of issue: December 2007

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