Spill Notification Point
Dirección de Protección de Medio Ambiente (DIRMA)
(Directorate of Environmental Protection)
Prefectura Nacional Naval (PRENA)
Rambla 25 de Agosto de 1825 S/N, 5º Piso
Tel: 00 598 2915 55 00
Competent National Authority
Contact details are as for the Spill Notification Point.
Responsibility for spill response in Uruguay lies with the Dirección de Protección de Medio Ambiente (DIRMA) (Directorate of Environmental Protection) part of the Prefectura Nacional Naval (PRENA) which in turn is a section of the Armada Nacional del Uruguay (Navy). DIRMA is responsible for, inter alia, maintaining and updating regional and local plans, developing policies for dispersant use and managing and maintaining equipment.
Operations are carried out through the Sistema Nacional de Control de Derrame de Contaminantes (DINCO), which has at its disposal an Advisory Council consisting of delegates from national public organisations. DIRMA would assume the position of Executive Coordinator of the Advisory Council.
The on-scene Commander would work with a team normally comprising the Naval Commander plus representatives of the Coast Guard (PRENA), ANCAP (Administración Nacional de Combustibles, Alcohol y Portland) the national oil company, INAPE (Instituto Nacional de la Pesca - a department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) and the Ministry of Tourism. In Montevideo, the civilian port administration (ANP) would also be included.
The Navy's jurisdiction extends from the high water mark to the 200-mile territorial waters zone. INAPE has responsibility for response on the Los Lobos island seal reserve. The main ports have both a naval and civilian administration, the latter of which is responsible for dealing with spills inside the harbour. In practice, assistance is usually sought from ANCAP
The National Contingency Plan was updated in 2011 to include spills of HNS. There are also regional plans for the Rio Uruguay, Rio de la Plata, Rio Negro and Atlantic Ocean, as well as local plans developed by each prefecture and sub prefecture.
In larger incidents, assistance may be sought from Argentina under a joint agreement.
In May 2015, new regulations came into effect requiring shipowners of some types of vessels and floating structures to contract with an oil spill response company (OSRO) approved by the Uruguayan Coast Guard at least 24 hours before entering a Uruguayan port or an anchorage in Uruguayan waters (http://www.ukpandi.com/knowledge/article/circular-7-15-oil-spill-response-organization-contract-requirements-uruguay-132662/).
The Uruguayan authorities have developed the following response policy: firstly, identify and control the source of the spill, then contain and recover the oil using mechanical means. Dispersant would only be used at depths greater than 20 metres and not at all in freshwater. Refining, land farming, natural degradation and incineration are the preferred disposal options.
Up to date information is now known, but previously the Uruguayan Navy had limited equipment kept in containers in ports and coastal areas, obtained through cooperation agreements with the Army and private oil companies. It may also provide aircraft and vessels for oil spill surveillance. Aircraft are also commercially available.
Crop spraying aircraft are operated through the Ministerio de Ganaderia Agricultural y Pesca and may be available for dispersant application.
ANCAP operates skimmers, portable storage tanks and hand-held and shipboard dispersant spraying equipment in Montevideo and at their terminal east of Punta del Este.
Labour for manual shoreline cleaning is available from ANCAP and industrial contractors. Mechanical equipment (front-end loaders, graders etc.) are available commercially.
ANCAP is a member of ARPEL, a reciprocal agreement between Latin American oil companies, based in Montevideo, and can call upon this organisation and its member companies for advice and resources.
CINTRA Golantex and LIFISOL S.A have been licensed by the Coast Guard to act as SPROs.
Previous Spill Experience
Bunkers from the ANGELINA (1981), which sunk off Punta del Este, threatened local fishing and seal grounds. Natural dissipation precluded any at sea response or shoreline impact. The SAN JORGE (1997) spilt between 2-5,000 tonnes of crude after grounding off Punta Del Este. The slick was treated with aerial and vessel applied dispersant. Affected coastlines were manually cleaned utilising hot water washing where appropriate. Oil also affected a nearby seal reserve. The grain carrier SYROS (2008) lost an estimated 140 tonnes of IFO 180 bunkers following a collision in the anchorage of Montevideo, Uruguay, Several hundred penguins were oiled on their yearly migration past the Uruguay coast and required cleaning.
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional & Bilateral Agreements
The Uruguayan Navy is signatory to the Viña del Mar agreement in the framework of the Operative Network for Regional Cooperation among Maritime Authorities of South America, Mexico, Panama & Cuba (ROCRAM).
In the framework of OPRC 90 and the Treaties of Rio de la Plata and Rio Uruguay, Uruguay and Argentina have ratified a regional cooperation convention to provide each other with equipment and technical assistance in the event of a spill.
Date of issue: October 2015