Korea - Republic of Korea (South Korea)

Spill Notification Point

Korea Coast Guard
13, Jeongbu 2 Cheongsa-ro Sejong-si Republic of Korea, 30128

Tel: +82 44 122


Alternatively spills should be reported to the nearest Coast Guard station: 

Tel: +82 41 122

Tel: +82 63 122

Tel: +82 51 122

Tel: +82 55 122

Tel: +82 33 122

Tel: +82 63 122

Tel: +82 32 122

Tel: +82 64 122

Tel: +82 61 122

+82 54 122

Tel: +82 31 122

Tel: +82 64 122

Tel: +82 33 122

Tel: +82 41 122

Tel: +82 55 122

Tel: +82 52 122

Tel: +82 61 122

Tel: +82 61 122

Competent National Authority

Contact details are as for spill notification point.

Response Arrangements

In January 2000 the National Maritime Police Agency (MPA) prepared the National Disaster Prevention Master Plan to provide for response to spills of oil in the marine environment. The MPA is now called the Korea Coast Guard and is a department of the Ministry of Public Safety and Security (MPSS), since government restructuring in November 2014. The Coast Guard has overall responsibility for marine pollution response in Republic of Korea waters. It has five regional Coast Guard headquarters (Donghae, Busan, Mokpo, Incheon and Jeju).

In accordance with the Korean Marine Pollution Prevention Act, the spiller is under obligation to respond to an oil spill incident, to undertake any clean-up and prevent the oil from spreading. The Act gives the Coast Guard, who have jurisdiction over all maritime activities relating to the safety and security of the Republic, authority to undertake the clean-up if actions by the spiller are insufficient. It is normal practice, however, for private contractors to take over in the early stages of an incident with the Coast Guard monitoring the situation and, if necessary, intervening to demand more assistance. In the principal ports the District Harbour Authority will respond to minor spills, of less than 100 litres, within port limits. The Coast Guard tend to confine their own activity to control on water, particularly booming. For shore cleaning, reliance is placed on local labour with essential equipment and supervision coming from contractors. Shoreline clean-up is overseen by the local authorities, though in larger spills, the Coast Guard would also be heavily involved.

The Marine Pollution Prevention Act requires all tankers over 500GT and non-tankers over 10,000GT, whilst in Korean waters, to stockpile a specified amount of clean-up equipment and chemicals on board or partially at an on-shore facility. Shipowners can nominate the Korea Marine Environment Management  Corporation (KOEM) (formerly the Korea Marine Pollution Response Corporation, KMPRC) originally established by the major Korean oil companies, to satisfy the on-shore aspect of this requirement. A further amendment to the Act requires shipowners to have response measures of a specified recovery capacity in place when visiting certain Korean ports. To satisfy this requirement, the Act requires Korean registered vessels to become members of KOEM. Foreign flag vessels may nominate KOEM vessels and equipment to satisfy these requirements on a per visit basis on payment of a fee. KOEM responds to spills at sea in liaison with the Coast Guard.

Response Policy

The primary response is containment and recovery, the latter either using skimmers or manually, followed by the use of sorbents and then dispersants. Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment on the use of dispersants state that they should be used selectively and as a last resort. An offshore response is mounted in certain cases, with dispersants occasionally applied from vessels early in an incident.

Real emphasis is placed on rapid shore cleaning, as it is impossible to defend sensitive resources because of the convoluted nature of the coastline. Manual methods using local manpower and resources are favoured to remove bulk oil, although dispersants are used to clean rocky and stony shores. Disposal of recovered oil is difficult since many shorelines have little or no road access. 



Government resources for combating spills are primarily those of the Coast Guard and are held at the principal ports (booms, skimmers, dispersants, sorbents and work boats). Other government owned resources include skimming vessels belonging to the Harbour Administrations of Busan, Tongyeong (formerly Chungmu) and Incheon. Navy vessels may be used to spray dispersant.


Significant clean-up resources are owned and operated by private contractors (ships agents, marine or oil companies), several of which are available in each of the main ports. They have extensive stocks of dispersant and dispersant spraying equipment together with boom, sorbent, pumps and work boats and have access to significant forces of trained and experienced manpower. In particular, the GS-Caltex Cooperation (formerly the Honam refinery), at Yeosu has several dedicated response vessels.

KOEM, with headquarters in Seoul, maintains a fleet of approximately 50 response vessels, together with specialised pollution response equipment, at 10 response bases throughout the Republic of Korea. These resources are available to supplement those of the Coast Guard.

Previous Spill Experience

Due to the nature of the coastline, climate and tonnage, South Korea has experienced a significant number of oil spills. In 1993 the KEUM DONG No.5 spilt 1,300 tonnes of Bunker C. This was cleaned using dispersant, sorbent and hot water washing on the shoreline. The SEA PRINCE (1995) spilt between 2,000 and 5,000 tonnes of bunker fuel and cargo after grounding. This contaminated shorelines and mariculture facilities near Yeosu. The HONAM SAPPHIRE spilt over 1,000 tonnes of crude oil in the same area later that year. In 2007 the fully laden HEBEI SPIRIT was struck on her port side by a crane barge whilst at anchor off Taean, spilling about 10,500 tonnes of three different crude oils, which over a period of weeks contaminated some 375km of Korea's western coast to varying degrees. Clean-up operations were carried out at sea and along the shoreline. Twenty three separate clean-up contractor companies were involved, hiring many local villagers as labourers (up to 10,000 people a day). Significant numbers from the armed forces were also deployed and there was a huge volunteer effort (over 50,000 a day). Extensive areas of fisheries and mariculture resources were badly affected by the spill with serious socio-economic implications.


Prevention & Safety

MARPOL Annexes

Spill Response



'69 '76 '92 '92Fund

* not yet in force 

Regional & Bilateral Agreements

A Memorandum of Understanding exists with Japan for the East Sea.

Regional Programme for the Prevention and Management of Marine Pollution in the East Asian Seas with the ASEAN countries, China, Cambodia, DPR Korea and Vietnam.

The Action Plan for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northwest Pacific Region (NOWPAP) was adopted at the First Intergovernmental Meeting on NOWPAP in September 1994 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, as one of the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP's) Regional Seas Programme. Its geographical scope covers the marine and coastal zone of the four States of the Northeast Asia: Japan, People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea, and Russian Federation (http:www.nowpap.org/)

Date of issue: September 2016

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