Spill Notification Point

Netherlands Coast Guard (Kustwacht) (Oil & HNS)
Coast Guard Centre (Kustwachtcentrum)
Gebouw MHKC
Nieuwe Haven
1780 CA Den Helder

Tel: +31 223 542300 or Emerg. +31 900 0111 (24hr)

Fax: +31 223 658358

Competent National Authority

Ministry for Infrastructure and Environment
Rijkswaterstaat Noordzee Lange Kleiweg 34,
Postbox 5807 Rijswijk (ZH) 2280 HV

Tel: +31 70 3366800 24 hr

Fax: +31 70 3951724

Response Arrangements

A revised national contingency plan was adopted by Parliament in 2006. The Ministry for Infrastructure & Environment (Infrastructuur & Milieu), is responsible for oil pollution response within the Netherlands. Responsibility is divided between two divisions: Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) for all national waters and Provinciale Waterstaat for all provincial waters. RWS is responsible for and activates counter-pollution measures in offshore and inland waters, as well as on the shoreline. RWS Noordzee co-ordinates pollution response in the North Sea.

In any type of incident the “polluter” is obliged to take immediate action provided any measures are approved by the authorities. Should the polluter fail to take appropriate measures the authorities will intervene.

The separate municipalities are responsible for municipal waterways and the port authorities are responsible within their jurisdiction, ie the Municipal Ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam via their Port Masters and other municipalities via the Mayor or the Director of Municipal Public Works. These municipalities operate local contingency plans. Oil companies must respond initially to spills at their facilities. Minor shoreline pollution (less than 5 m³) is usually cleaned up by the municipalities but RWS assumes responsibility for larger incidents.

The Coast Guard centre is located at the Royal Netherlands Navy base in Den Helder.  It is appointed as the national Netherlands Maritime (MRCC) and Aeronautical (ARCC) Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC) and coordinates any response to a marine incident. The Netherlands Coast Guard consists of a cooperative framework comprising various central government departments: - the Directorate General for Shipping & Maritime Affairs, the RWS Noordzee, the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Naval Police, Customs & Immigration, the Fishery Protection Department and the Mining Inspectorate.

Response Policy

Response at sea is primarily based on mechanical recovery which may be complemented by mechanical dispersion by ships' propellers. The application of dispersants is permitted, though under strict conditions.  These conditions are related to sea conditions, type and quantity of oil, season and water depth. Official authorisation is required. Coastal pollution of the mostly sandy coastline is generally dealt with by removing contaminated sand material for treatment and separation.



RWS operates a number of oil pollution response vessels and have further contracted vessels for immediate adaptation to oil recovery vessels in the event of an emergency. This includes 5 commercial sand dredgers. A number of other vessels are also available to support recovery operations and handle boom. The target recovery capacity of these combined units is 15,000 m³ of oil in three days. These vessels are based primarily at Scheveningen and also at Zeeland and at Rotterdam. The Netherlands Coast Guard operates two surveillance aircraft fitted with side looking airborne radar and infra-red sensing equipment.

The Port Authorities of Rotterdam have contracted a commercial company (HEBO) to respond to all incidents in the Port area and the company operates oil recovery craft and quantities of containment boom within the port area. Other municipalities have limited equipment consisting on the whole of vacuum trucks and sorbent.

The Netherlands does not have its own stock of dispersant, but would seek assistance from the UK.


There are a number of private clean-up contractors and salvage companies in the Netherlands who own and operate a wider variety of equipment, including booms, skimmers, vacuum trucks, emergency transfer pumps and other salvage equipment. Additionally, most major terminals have stocks of boom and sorbent.

Previous Spill Experience

There are a number of private clean-up contractors and salvage companies in the Netherlands who own and operate a wider variety of equipment, including booms, skimmers, vacuum trucks, emergency transfer pumps and other salvage equipment. Additionally, most major terminals have stocks of boom and sorbent.

Hazardous & Noxious Substances

The competent authority for dealing with marine pollution involving HNS is the Director of the Netherlands Coastguard with assistance from RWS. A National Contingency Plan for HNS incidents is currently being prepared as an extension of the Oil Spill Contingency Plan. Regional/local contingency plans are also in production.  The Netherlands capability for responding to marine incidents involving HNS is rather limited and mainly relies on the same resources as for oil pollution response.  The Netherlands has some specialised equipment for monitoring HNS spills at sea and modelling exists through the RWS Centre for Water Management in Lelystad.  The Netherlands does not have any specialised vessels for dealing with HNS spills, but some navy vessels have gas tight citadels and can go into hazardous areas for measuring air quality.  Salvage companies and chemical experts within the country could be called upon to deal with HNS incidents, in cooperation with the fire brigade if necessary.  They also provide training courses in this field.  In terms of scientific support, the Dienst Centraal Milieu Rijnmond (DCMR) in Schiedam provides advice on human risk issues.  The RWS Centre for Water Management provides advice on ecological aspects and possible response options and the National Institute for Applied Science and others may also be contracted for support or to conduct studies on long term effects.  The Netherlands has been involved in a number of HNS spills, including BAN-ANN (1998, sulphur phosphine) and ANDINET (2003, arsenic pentoxide).  (Information from EMSA, 2008)


Prevention & Safety

MARPOL Annexes

* not yet in force 

Spill Response



'69 '76 '92 '92Fund

Regional & Bilateral Agreements

  • Bonn Agreement (with countries bordering the North Sea), since 1969. 
  • DenGerNeth Tripartite Agreement (with Denmark and Germany) for Wadden & North Sea.
  • Quadrapartite Plan (with France, UK and Belgium); Member of the European Community Task Force.

Date of issue: May 2011

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