International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: London, United Kingdom
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 13/05/1995


Environment and products

Sub category

Maritime and Law of the Sea



What is it about?

This Convention obliges State parties to adopt measures to prepare, respond, prevent and cooperate in the case of oil spill incidents. Ships bearing the flag of State parties or off shore units located in maritime zones under State jurisdiction must be in possession of an emergency plan designed to limit the damage caused by pollution in an oil spill incident. This plan requires masters or other persons being in charge of ships flying its flag and persons having charge of offshore units under its jurisdiction to report without delay any event on their ship or offshore unit involving a discharge or probable discharge of oil. Each Party shall establish a national system for a prompt and effective response to oil pollution incidents. The minimum requirement for this system includes the designation of the competent national authority or authorities responsible for oil pollution preparedness; a national operational contact point or points, responsible for the receipt and transmission of oil pollution reports and an authority entitled to act on behalf of the State to request assistance or to decide to render the assistance requested. It further requires a national contingency plan for preparedness and response including the organizational relationship of the various bodies involved, whether public or private, taking into account guidelines developed by the Organization. The Protocol of 15 March 2000 extends the provisions of this Convention to pollution caused by hazardous and noxious substances.

Why is it relevant?

By becoming a party to this instrument, a State can prepare for damage caused by maritime pollution and can limit its impact on their fishing and tourism sectors. There is more technical and financial assistance so as to prepare for such risks (training and equipment) and help in case of pollution by oil spills.

Additional Information

The International Maritime Organization plays an important role in the coordination of the provisions of the Convention of 1990. By 2003, the Convention of 1990 was ratified by 73 States, representing more than 70% of world tonnage.


Country ratifications

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