Spill Notification Point
Japan Coast Guard
Guard & Rescue Department Rescue Division Operations Office Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre
2-1-3 Kasumigaseki Chiyoda-ku,
Tel: +81-3 35919812 (24hr)
Fax: +81-3 35812853
Alternatively, notification of spills should be made to the nearest Regional Coast Guard Headquarters:
1st Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
2nd Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
3rd Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
4th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
5th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
6th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
7th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
8th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
9th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
10th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters
Competent National Authority
Japan Coast Guard - contact details as for the Spill Notification Point.
The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) is the lead government agency in Japan for salvage and spill response but looks to the tanker owner to undertake clean-up operations.
Japan is divided into 11 Coast Guard regions, with a total of 66 Coast Guard Offices and 51 Coast Guard Stations. Contingency plans for a maximum spill of 810,000 tonnes have been prepared for the three sea areas at most risk; Tokyo Bay, Ise Bay and Seto Inland Sea. Joint government/industry oil spill control committees have been formed in 95 oil ports, where local harbour authorities are legally responsible for controlling pollution within port limits but usually have little or no spill response capability.
The Maritime Disaster Prevention Centre (MDPC) was established to respond to oil spills and is funded jointly by government and industry. In addition to the 40 equipment bases established by MDPC, agreements for rapid response to spills have been made with a total of 143 private clean-up contractors in 83 ports. In the event of a major oil spill, coordination within the various government agencies will be established by the National Land Agency.
After notification of a major potential or actual spill, the JCG will dispatch vessels and aircraft to assess the situation. The ship's owner is required to take emergency or damage control measures and to clean up the spill. If the incident exceeds his capability, MPDC will respond, either under the direction of JCG under direct contract to the owner.
Tripartite councils involving government, local and private sector representatives have been established at ports & harbours and on a wider basis to promote contingency planning and to consider equipment requirements. The responsibility of these councils is expanding. The Ports & Harbours Department of the Ministry of Transport is responsible for guidance on disposal.
The national contingency plans are under review as a result of the NAKHODKA incident.
Japanese policy focuses on physical containment and recovery, anticipating that much of the spilled oil will be recovered with skimmers and nets and the remainder recovered or dispersed using sorbents and dispersants. The latter must be approved by JCG and their use is increasingly rare as the agreement of local Fishermen's Cooperatives is required. Aerial application of dispersants is an option although rarely undertaken. Recovered oil is usually incinerated, although it may be taken for blending or refining if it is reasonably free from contamination. Contaminated waste may be landfilled.
JCG maintains stocks of equipment and materials at its local offices, consisting of specialised vessels, boom, skimmers, recovery nets, dispersant and sorbents, which are primarily intended for initial response. MDPC has oil recovery vessels stationed at 10 major oil ports and maintains stockpiles of equipment and materials through a network of 30 commercial clean-up contractors around the coast and islands.
By law, facilities receiving oil and tankers using Japanese ports or entering certain sea areas must maintain stocks of equipment and materials for combating spills. Much of this capability is supplied to tankers by MDPC under contract, however the larger refineries have substantial stocks of boom and recovery vessels. The Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) has established six stockpiles of containerised equipment, including boom, skimmers and temporary storage, at strategic locations around the coast which can be made available in the event of a major spill. It also has 5 other stockpile bases abroad.
Previous Spill Experience
There have been many small spills, which frequently result in extensive cleanup operations and generate large claims for damage to mariculture. The JULIANA (1971) spilled some 7000 tonnes of crude oil after running aground in Niigata. The NAKHODKA (1997), carrying 19,000 tonnes of fuel oil, broke in two in the Sea of Japan. Approximately 1000km of coastline was affected to varying degrees. Extensive at sea recovery using skimmers & crane grabs, and manual shoreline clean-up exceeding 500,000 man hours, was undertaken. The DIAMOND GRACE (1997) spilt 1,300 tonnes of crude oil in Tokyo Bay. A large response was mounted, although oil affected the largely industrial shoreline only
Hazardous & Noxious Substances
Since April 2008, it is mandatory for HNS tankers over 150GT when sailing in specified areas (Tokyo Bay, Ise Bay, Seto Inland Sea including Osaka Bay) to ensure that materials, equipment and experts are readily available in the event of a spill. An “HNS Materials, Equipment and Experts’ Placement Certificate” is available from MDPC who are empowered to provide an emergency response service for HNS spills at the request of the shipowner and under instruction from the Coastguard.
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional & Bilateral Agreements
- The ASEAN - OSRAP (Association of South East Asian Nations Oil Spill Response Action Plan) with ASEAN countries.
- A Memorandum of Understanding exists with South Korea for the Sea of Japan.
- A Memorandum of Understanding exists with the USA on pollution preparedness & response.
Date of issue: April 2008