Papua New Guinea

Spill Notification Point

National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA)
Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC)
Port Moresby 24/7

Tel: 24 hr +675 321 3033 / 2760 or +675 321 2969

Fax: +675 321 0484

Competent National Authority

National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA)
Level 2, Pacific MMI Insurance Building
PO Box 668 Port Moresby
National Capital District
Papua New Guinea

Tel +675 321 1244

Response Arrangements

The National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) is the competent national authority for Papua New Guinea (PNG). It was established in 2003 by the Government of PNG to replace the Marine Transport Division of the Department of Transport.

A National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NATPLAN) was developed in the 1990s but was never adopted and is now outdated. In 2013, the Marine Pollution (Preparedness & Response) Bill was enacted. This provides the legislative backing for NMSA's marine pollution preparedness and response arrangements, including the legal requirement for NMSA to develop, maintain and regularly exercise a National Marine Pollution Contingency Plan. The Plan will be based upon a National Marine Pollution Risk Assessment which was undertaken by NMSA in close cooperation with the PNG Ports Corporation Ltd in 2011. It is anticipated that the Plan will cover oil, chemicals and other hazardous substances, but with a primary focus on oil spills as oil is the main pollutant likely to be spilled in PNG. It will cover spills from both shipping and shore-based facilities and provide for a tiered response to spills, following the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) template.

The Marine Pollution (Preparedness & Response) Act provides for the appointment of an Incident Commander in the event of a spill and the establishment of a National Marine Pollution Committee comprising all relevant agencies and stakeholders.

PNG is a member of SPREP and party to the SPREP Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Combating Pollution Emergencies in the South Pacific, which provides the legal framework through which marine spill contingency planning is addressed. SPREP has developed a comprehensive programme to address marine pollution called PACPOL, the Pacific Ocean Pollution Prevention Programme.

PACPOL has developed a number of initiatives to assist Pacific Island members with marine spill prevention and response. The Pacific Islands Regional Marine Spill Contingency Plan (PACPLAN), first endorsed in 2000, was updated in 2013 and provides the framework for cooperative regional responses to major marine spills in the Pacific Islands region. PACPLAN only applies to spills where regional cooperation and/or supraregional assistance are required. It does not cover Tier One and Tier Two spills.

PNG can draw on resources of the Australian Marine Oil Spill Centre (AMOSC) in Geelong though a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Australian government to provide mutual assistance in the event of a major oil spill incident which exceeds the response capability of either national government.

Response Policy

It is likely that dispersant use would only occur in accordance with SPREP Guidelines on the Use of Oil Spill Dispersants. Dispersant use is generally prohibited in shallow and sensitive coastal areas, particularly where coral reefs and fisheries are found.

Open sea containment and recovery operations are limited by equipment availability, but industry stockpiles contain equipment suitable for use in harbours and sheltered waters.



NMSA owns and maintains a small inventory of oil spill response equipment at various ports around the country, including in Port Moresby. Some of this equipment is old and in poor condition, having been used many times for small spills.


Interoil maintains equipment at the Napa Napa oil refinery and terminal, which includes heavy duty harbour boom, dispersant, skimmers and storage tanks.

It is understood that the Mobil terminal at Idubada has a single shipping container of small-scale oil spill response equipment.

Previous Spill Experience

In 2012 the fishing vessel TAI FU 102 sank at the anchorage of Rabaul, PNG resulting in a small leakage of oil. This was cleaned up using locally available equipment.

Later that year the unladen reefer ASIAN LILY ran aground on the small island of Kwaiawata in south-west Papua New Guinea, some 120 NM from the mainland, spilling heavy fuel oil which contaminated the adjacent shoreline. Oil sheens and slicks were observed floating away from the immediate vicinity of the vessel under the influence of local currents and winds but no oil was reported further afield. A small and short shoreline clean-up operation was mounted, using workers from the local population to clean 120 m of shoreline. This was strictly manual in nature and encompassed approximately 80 man-days of effort.

There have been a number of other minor incidents reported.

Hazardous & Noxious Substances

NMSA would manage the response in the event of an HNS spill. It is expected that response arrangements would be similar to those for oil spills.


Prevention & Safety

MARPOL Annexes

Spill Response



'69 '76 '92 '92Fund

* not yet in force 

Regional & Bilateral Agreements

Noumea or SPREP Convention (Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region (1986))

Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Australian government to provide mutual assistance in the event of a major oil spill incident which exceeds the response capability of either national government.

Date of issue: September 2014

Terms & Conditions

These Country & Territory Profiles are provided in good faith as a guide only and are based on information obtained from a variety of sources over a period of time.  This information is subject to change and should, in each case, be independently verified before reliance is placed on it. Country & Territory Profiles may have been re-issued solely to incorporate additional or revised information under one heading only.  Each Profile has therefore not necessarily been completely verified or updated as at the stated Date of Issue.

ITOPF Limited (“ITOPF”) hereby excludes, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, any and all liability to any person, corporation or other entity for any loss, damage or expense resulting from reliance on or use of these Country & Territory Profiles.

©ITOPF Limited 2018.

These Country & Territory Profiles may be reproduced by any means for non-commercial distribution without addition, deletion or amendment, provided an acknowledgement of the source is given and these Terms & Conditions are reproduced in full. 

These Country & Territory Profiles may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of ITOPF either for commercial distribution or with addition, deletion or amendment.