Spill Notification Point

The Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard (JDFCG)
HMJS Cagway
Port Royal
Kingston 1

Tel: +1 876 967 8193 (24 hrs) or +1 876 967 8031-3

Fax: +1 876 967 8278


Competent National Authority

Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM)
2-4 Haining Road
Kingston 5

Tel: +1 876 906 9674-5 or 876 754 9077 8


Response Arrangements

Jamaica has a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan implemented and maintained by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). It is understood that this was last updated in 2013 and approved in 2014 (Information from RAC-REMPEITC 2015).

In any major pollution emergency incident the ODPEM is responsible for the overall coordination of activities. The Director of ODPEM is designated the National Coordinator (NC) and also Chairman of the National Response Team (NRT).

The Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard (JDFCG) has the responsibility for the coordination and direction of response efforts at the scene of an incident in marine waters. The Commanding Officer would be designated the On-Scene Commander (OSC).

The Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), assisted by the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force, has the responsibility for the coordination and direction of response efforts on land.

The National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA) and JFB have the responsibility for investigating pollution incidents, sampling, analysing and monitoring.

Other government departments also have designated roles and responsibilities during spill response activities and these are outlined in the NCP.

Petrojam, the primary product supplier in Jamaica, has its own emergency response plans and procedures for its facilities. Under a cooperative arrangement with the government response agencies, it provides equipment and skilled personnel during emergencies.

For large spills, external assistance could be requested from the US Coastguard.

Also the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency - an inter-regional supportive network of independent emergency units throughout the Caribbean - would provide technical and logistical support.

Response Policy

According to the NCP, the polluter is responsible for initiating necessary clean-up measures. If in the opinion of the OSC the clean-up operations are inadequate for the size and scope of the spill, the OSC will assume responsibility for the clean-up. This action does not remove the financial liability from the polluter nor does it preclude their involvement in subsequent mitigation and clean-up efforts.

Clean-up measures would include a mixture of mechanical and non-mechanical methods. Given the type of equipment available, response is likely to be limited to nearshore areas and shoreline clean-up.

The use of dispersants in Jamaica is subject to the "IMO/UNEP Guidelines on oil spill dispersant application and environmental considerations" and would be decided by the OSC after consultation with NEPA and the Pharmaceutical and Regulatory Agency (PRA), Ministry of Health. Dispersant use would always be a last resort and only dispersants approved by the IMO, USCG and EPA (USA) would be considered.

Under the NCP, oil and contaminated materials recovered will be disposed of by controlled incineration. Specified sites for landfills would be invoked to avoid risk of ground water contamination.



JDF/ODPEM oil spill clean-up equipment is housed in four locations: Cagway, Port Royal; Up Park Camp; Montego Bay, Wharf; and Reynolds Pier, Ocho Rios. This includes boom, skimmers, dispersant, pumps and sorbent material. It is understood that the equipment is generally obtained from doners and there are challenges in maintaining and replenishing it (Information from RAC-REMPEITC 2015). The Coast Guard can supply vessels and helicopters for monitoring and surveillance.


Petrojam equipment includes containment booms, motor driven skimmers and sorbent pads. It also has dispersant spray equipment and workboats. Petrojam is a full member of Oil Spill Response Ltd (OSRL) following its merger with Clean Caribbean and Americas (CCA) in 2013. OSRL acquired CCA's response base in Fort Lauderdale and Petrojam would have access to its resources, services and support in the event of a medium to large spill.

Other oil companies operating in Jamaica also have limited equipment.

Vacuum trucks, front-end loaders, etc. are available from commercial contractors.

Previous Spill Experience

Jamaica suffered its first major oil spill in 1981 when the tanker ERODONA spilled 600 tonnes of Bunker C after grounding at Port Kaiser. The majority of the oil moved out to sea and dispersed naturally.

In 2000 the tanker TRADEWIND SPIRIT spilled approximately 3 tonnes of heavy fuel oil whilst loading at the Petrojam facilities in the Port of Kingston. This contaminated 3-4 km of mangrove shores to varying degrees. As there were no significant amounts of oil leaching from the contaminated mangroves into other areas, it was decided to allow the vegetation to recover naturally, as any attempt at clean-up would cause damage to individual plants and to the sandy/silty substrate. A programme to monitor the ongoing health of the mangrove was put in place.

There have been a number of other minor bunker spills at the Petrojam terminal.


Prevention & Safety

MARPOL Annexes

Spill Response



'69 '76 '92 '92Fund

* not yet in force

Regional & 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: September 2015

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