Spill Notification Point

United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Guam

Tel: +671-3396100 (24hr) or +671 3392001

Fax: +671 3392005

Additionally, a spiller must notify the US National Response Centre:

National Response Centre
USCG Headquarters 2100 2nd Street S.W. Washington, DC 20593-0001 U.S.A.

Tel: +1-800 4248802 or +1-202 2672675

Fax: +1-202 2672165

Competent National Authority

USCG MSO Guam, details as above.

Response Arrangements

Guam is a territory of the USA. Under OPA'90 primary responsibility for combating and cleaning oil spills lies with the polluter, under the coordination of a designated Federal On-Scene Commander (OSC). The polluter would be expected to provide personnel and resources or engage appropriate contractors and as such must operate an applicable response plan. If the work is performed unsatisfactorily, the USCG are empowered to take over the clean-up and appoint their own contractors at the owner's expense.

The US Coast Guard Marine Safety Office (USCG MSO) is the lead federal agency for oil spills in coastal and offshore waters with the Commanding Officer acting as the Federal OSC. The Federal OSC would be supported by the National Response System, developed to coordinate response using the support of the National Response Team, Regional Response Team, Area Committees and responsible parties as necessary to supply the required resources.

The Administrator of the Guam Environmental Protection Agency would act as the local OSC and would supervise all response operations of Guam agencies. The local OSC is responsible for spills from inland sources. In the event of a spill from a navy vessel, an OSC would be appointed from Naval Forces Marianas.

When appropriate, a unified command structure will be initiated comprising the Federal OSC who has overall command, the local OSC and the spillers representative. This will normally be located at the Guam Civil Defence Emergency Operations Centre. The OSC and polluter would be advised by an Area Committee. The Committee is an advisory body comprising three levels of members. Primary members as required under OPA'90 include the USCG MSO, Commander, Naval Forces Marianas, National Park Service, USCG 14th District Advisory Team, NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator, Guam Environmental Protection Agency, Guam Civil Defence, Department of Agriculture-Division of Aquatic & Wildlife Resources, Port Authority of Guam, Guam Fire Department, University of Guam Marine Laboratory and the Bureau of Planning. Secondary members include local organisations not required by OPA'90 but having an interest and include the National Marine Fisheries Service, Andersen Air Force Base, Department of Public Works, Shell Oil Guam, Mobil Oil Guam, Esso Eastern and Harbour Services Inc. A third level includes observers to the committee. The Area Committee has responsibility for the Oil and Hazardous Substances  Response Contingency Plan  which  forms the Area Contingency Plan (ACP)  for Guam. The ACP is complimentary to and would be implemented in conjunction with the Oceanic Regional Contingency Plan and the US National Contingency Plan as appropriate. The ACP includes sensitivity maps for Guam.

Where a spill is beyond the capabilities of regional resources and becomes a spill of national significance (SONS), the regional organisation will be augmented by a national structure. A National Incident Commander, most likely a USCG Vice Admiral, will assume the role of OSC with the Commander of the District (14th) as an alternate. Other USCG officials will assume various supporting roles.

The US 14th District Regional Advisory Team (RAT), which is responsible for the Regional Contingency Plan, can provide guidance to the OSC on clean-up strategies, disposal, safety and environmental issues. Guidance can also be sought from the National Response Team through the RAT. Further specialist advice and resources can be requested from the USCG National Strike Force Pacific Team, the US Navy Supervisor of Salvage-SUPSALV and the US EPA Environmental Response Team amongst others.

Response Policy

Offshore response is not normally initiated due to the prevailing, hostile sea conditions, and to the lack of locally available suitable equipment. In sheltered waters, the favoured response is to contain and recover spilled oil mechanically or manually with sorbents. The use of dispersants is unlikely to be approved by the Guam Area Committee due to the prevalence of coral reefs and fishing. Shoreline clean-up would be conducted manually and mechanically. Any clean-up in sensitive areas (corals, mangroves, marine reserves and fishing grounds) would require consultation with and approval of the Guam Area Committee and/or the RAT.

Disposal of reclaimed spilt oil and oily waste collected from beaches would be a problem. Temporary hazardous storage permits only are available. Navy and civilian power plants can burn small amounts of waste oil as fuel. Larger volumes would have to be exported. 



The USCG and US Navy hold limited specialist response equipment and resources, principally booms, skimmers and sorbents suitable for use in sheltered waters. The Navy have a waste oil barge of 9500 tonnes capacity. The Guam EPA, Department of Agriculture, Port Authority and Fire and Police Departments can provide limited back-up.


Limited equipment and manpower resources for shoreline cleaning and at-sea response within the main port (Apra Harbour) are available commercially, including tugs, other vessels and aircraft. Small amounts of equipment are operated by operating oil companies through the Apra Harbour Oil Spill Cooperative. However, equipment requirements to comply with OPA'90 are currently being determined by the Guam Area Committee. A local cooperative (Guam Response Services Ltd.) is being established to purchase, maintain and operate these resources. 

Previous Spill Experience

Guam has experienced a number of spills, mainly in or near Apra Harbour. Most are minor operational spills (normally less than 50 gallons) during vessel bunkering or cargo transfers from tankers, or from oil installations ashore. Larger reported incidents have involved pipeline ruptures, groundings and sinkings, the largest comprising several thousand gallons of heavy fuel oil. The most serious damaged large amounts of mangrove but the majority of spills have been carried out of Apra harbour and have resulted in little shoreline impact.


Prevention & Safety

MARPOL Annexes

Spill Response



'69 '76 '92 '92Fund

* not yet in force 

Regional & Bilateral Agreements

  • Noumea Convention (with states of the South Pacific Region).

Date of issue: May 1996

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