Spill Notification Point

Direcção-Geral da Autoridade Marítima (DGAM) (for oil and HNS)
Maritime Authority Directorate General
Praça do Comércio - 1100-148 Lisboa

Tel/Fax: +351 21 346 9221 or +351 21 325 5466

Competent National Authority

Details as above.

Response Arrangements

The competent authority for dealing with marine pollution is the Direcção-Geral da Autoridade Marítima (DGAM), under the auspices of the National Maritime Authority (Navy) and the Ministry of Defence.  DGAM coordinates, at national level, the response to marine pollution at sea and on shore.  A national contingency plan - “Plano Mar Limpo” (Clean Sea Plan) - was approved in April 1993. This includes regional and local emergency plans. DGAM operates a Marine Pollution Response Service (Serviço de Combate à Poluição do Mar por Hidrocarbonetos), a central service with technical expertise in pollution prevention and combat. Spills are handled at one of the following four levels, depending on their seriousness:

4th level – by the Port Administration, when there is no pollution or for the smallest spills, ie in harbour areas;

3rd level – by the local maritime authority (capitão do porto) for spills where impact is limited to the area of its jurisdiction (capitania);

2nd level – by the regional maritime authority (chefe do departamento marítimo) for spills where impact crosses several local jurisdictions;

1st level – by the Director-General of the National Maritime Authority (director-geral da Autoridade Marítima) for major oil spills with national impact.There are enhanced logistics centres at regional level, to support operations at all levels and to try to make the most efficient use of limited resources.

As part of the Lisbon Agreement, the International Center for Pollution Response in the North East Atlantic (CILPAN) was established in Lisbon in 1990 to coordinate response between member states during an incident

Response Policy

The national contingency plan gives priority to containment and recovery at sea. As a general rule, the use of dispersants is not permitted, but they can be authorised on a case by case basis when the oil spill is offshore, in deep water and away from any sensitive fishery area. The Ministries of Environment and Health are the responsible authorities for granting permission to use dispersants.  The Ministry for the Environment is responsible for identifying sensitive areas and storage places (temporary and final) for waste collected during clean-up operations.


Government & Private

The Portuguese Navy has a landing craft, NRP “Bacamarte”, fitted for, but not with, a “V-Sweep” on the starboard side for marine pollution response operations.  The National Maritime Authority has two small skimmers, UAM “Enchente” and UAM “Vazante”, for marine pollution response operations in restricted waters. It also has various equipment located at five main locations: Leixões, Lisboa/Setúbal, Faro, Funchal (Madeira) and Ponta Delgada (São Miguel island–Azores). This consists of dispersants, most types of booms and skimmers, and shoreline clean-up equipment.  All Portuguese ports have their own contingency plans and some equipment adequate for the areas under their jurisdiction.

Previous Spill Experience

In 1989 25,000 tonnes of heavily weathered oil from the tanker ARAGON (1989/1990) impacted the shoreline of Porto Santo Island (Madeira). A protracted clean-up using skimmers and heavy duty pumps followed. The recovered oil was stored in pits behind the shore before being shipped for recycling. The tanker CERCAL (1994) grounded outside Leixões harbor spilling 3000 tonnes of light crude. Mechanical recovery equipment was deployed to recover oil in the harbor and at sea, while the beaches were cleaned manually. In total, the Marine Pollution Response Service has registered over 2000 oil spills since 1971 (data provided 2009).

Hazardous & Noxious Substances

Response arrangements for spills of HNS are the same as for oil.  Portugal has not carried out any risk assessments specifically for the transport of HNS. Its capability for responding to HNS incidents is limited and mainly relies on the same resources as for oil pollution.  Portugal does not currently have any specialised equipment for monitoring HNS spills, nor specialised vessels, a specialised response team or specialised body providing scientific advice on marine incidents involving HNS. (Information from EMSA 2008).


Prevention & Safety

MARPOL Annexes

Spill Response



'69 '76 '92 '92Fund

* not yet in force  The conventions are extended to the dependent territories of The Azores and Madeira. 

Regional & Bilateral Agreements

  • Lisbon Agreement (with France, Spain and Morocco).
  • Member of the European Community Task Force.

Date of issue: December 2011

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