Spill Notification Point

Centro Nacional de Coordinación de Salvamento Maritimo Sociedad de Salvamento y Seguridad Marítima (SASEMAR)
C/Fruela, 3-1a Planta
28011 Madrid 

Tel: +34 91 755 9132/33/00

Competent National Authority

Dirección General de la Marina Mercante (DGMM) - Subdirección
General de Tráfico, Seguridad y Contaminación Marítima
C/Ruiz de Alarcon, 1-8a Planta
28071 Madrid

Tel: +34 91 597 9269/70

Fax: +34 597 9235/87

Dirección General de la Marina Mercante (DGMM) - Subdirección General de Tráfico, Seguridad y Contaminación Marítima
C/Ruiz de Alarcon, 1-8a Planta
28071 Madrid

Tel: (+34) 91 597 9269/70

Fax: (+34) 597 9235/87

Response Arrangements

The civil maritime authority, the Directorate General of the Merchant Navy (DGMM), as part of the Ministry of Public Works, Environment and Transport, has responsibility for oil spill response within Spain's territorial waters and EEZ and for implementation of the National Plan for Salvage and Pollution Control. Salvamento Maritimo (SASEMAR) was created by law in 1992, under the overall coordination of the DGMM, to provide, amongst other things, at-sea pollution response. Salvamento Maritimo operates 20 Marine Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC) along its coastline, equipped for at-sea rescue and pollution control.

If a spill enters or occurs in nearshore waters or impacts the shoreline, overall direction and coordination is provided by the Civil Governor of the province affected who convenes a technical coordination committee. Shoreline clean-up is provided by municipal councils and coordinated by the Civil Protection Board. If more than one province is affected, the Ministry of the Interior and local government representative assume responsibility. Shoreline response usually involves TRAGSA (Empresa de Transformacion Agraria SA), a public company funded by federal and provincial government. On-site coordination and response is provided by the MRCCs under the Sub-Director General for Maritime Safety and Pollution Control. In port and terminal areas the Port Captain would act as the on-scene commander.

In 2006 the Spanish government approved a new national plan which contains practical measures to augment its response capability. This included the development of 6 strategic bases housing equipment available for rapid movement anywhere in Spain. A new National Plan for Maritime Safety and Rescue for 2010/18 was published and is available on SASEMAR's website

Response Policy

Mechanical recovery is the preferred option when dealing with oil at sea. The use of dispersants is allowed as a last resort response option. However, dispersants are not favoured in Spain due to the presence of large commercial fish stocks and associated industry and therefore their use is assessed on a case-by-case basis. New regulations are being drafted to include official testing and approval methods. Currently DGMM approves dispersants based on the product documentation considering the results of efficiency, toxicity and biodegradability tests undertaken in other States. Spain has a list of approved dispersants. The dispersants are approved provisionally and for one year. Each year there is a re-approval process if the composition doesn't change. The local use of dispersants is controlled, authorised and supervised by the local maritime authorities (harbour masters). (Information from EMSA 2014)



Government stockpiles are located at 6 strategic bases: - Fene (A Coruna), Santander, Seville, Cartagena, Castellon and Tenerife. There is also a small 'top-up' store in Madrid although this mainly acts as an additional maintenance and repair facility. The DGMM owns booms and skimmers, plus several tugs and offshore vessels equipped with both mechanical recovery and dispersant-spraying equipment. Equipment for beach cleaning is owned by the provincial councils. The Spanish Air Force can provide aircraft for observation.

SASEMAR has an agreement with OSRL which offers Spain access to aircraft dispersant application capability.


The oil companies operating in Spain are obliged by law to hold clean-up equipment at the ports in which they operate. This consists in the main of limited quantities of boom and dispersant. A salvage company operates tugs from Vigo fitted with dispersant-spraying equipment.

Previous Spill Experience

Oil from the NERETVA (1992) was dispersed by DGMM tugs also used for the recovery of bunkers from the sunken vessel. Shoreline clean-up was undertaken by the municipalities. Oil from the AEGEAN SEA (1992) at La Coruña was partially mechanically recovered by a number of DGMM vessels. Sensitive areas prevented the use of dispersants. Beach clean-up was mainly manual, utilising contractors directed by a technical coordination committee. The PRESTIGE (November, 2002), carrying some 77,000 tonnes of Heavy Fuel Oil, broke up off the coast of Galicia spilling about 63,00 tonnes of oil. A major offshore clean-up operation was carried out using vessels from Spain and nine other European countries. The oil came ashore along an 800km stretch of the Spanish coastline and also polluted beaches on the French Atlantic coast. Oil from the PRESTIGE entered Portuguese waters in mid-December but none came ashore. The PRESTIGE is one of a handful of landmark spills that have attracted huge media coverage and had repercussions on international maritime transportation policy.

Hazardous & Noxious Substances

The competent authority for dealing with marine pollution at sea involving HNS is the DGMM. Spain is currently working to improve and progress in preparedness and response to HNS incidents. Spain does not specifically cover HNS in its NCP.

Spain does not have any specialised equipment for monitoring of marine spills of HNS. However, it has aerial and vessel surveillance available. Spain's capability for responding to marine incidents involving HNS at sea is lmited and mainly relies on the same resources as for oil pollution response and on special occasions on resources from private companies. Spain has four multipurpose vesssels and seven tug vessels, which have pressurised bridges and gas detector systems for HNS.

In terms of scientific support, the DGMM has signed an agreement with the Spanish Chemical Industry Association (FEIQUE) and established the Spanish Maritime ICE Scheme Centre CEREMMP in Madrid MRCC. CEREMMP provides remote production information on chemicals, and in emergencies can also request further assistance from participating companies, depending on the product(s) involved.

Spain has previous experience of marine HNS incident, including CASON (1987, a number of hazardous substances, including diphenyl methane diisocyanate (MDI), ortho-cresol, aniline and sodium); BALU (2001, 8000 tonnes of sulphuric acid); MAERSK NEWPORT (2008, oxygen acetlylene); and HALDOZ (2012 styrene spill during loading operations). (Information from EMSA, 2014)


Prevention & Safety

MARPOL Annexes

Spill Response



'69 '76 '92 '92Fund

* not yet in force 

Regional & Bilateral Agreements

  • Barcelona Convention (with states bordering the Mediterranean)
  • Member of the European Community Task Force.
  • Spain has observer status under the Bonn Agreement.

For further information see also REMPEC (Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea) Country Profile (

Date of issue: December 2015

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