Panama Canal introduces oil spill action plan
The Panama Canal Authority introduced its Panama Canal Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (PCSOPEP) Jan. 1, designed to help reduce the impact of oil spills in the local waters.
All vessels with a 400 metric ton or more of oil carrying capacity, as fuel and/or cargo, are now required to submit a PCSOPEP via e-mail or regular postal mail at least 96 hours prior to arriving at canal waters, and should include the following information, as a minimum:
* Oil pollution prevention measures for Panama Canal waters.
* Spill notification procedures in a prioritized sequence.
* Spill response procedures.
* Crew training program for the reaction to shipboard and shore spill incidents.
* Record of PCSOPEP notification exercises.
* Identification of the authorized person and telephone and FAX numbers where they can be reached on a 24-hour basis.
The vessel activates the PCSOPEP as soon as initial notification is made to the authority of an actual or probable oil leak. The Panama Canal Authority has established a six-hour response time that includes time for notification and mobilization of personnel, transportation of personnel and resources to the spill location, deployment of resources and time for start-up of operation.
All vessels affected by the plan will be subject to a per transit fee to help fund the program, based on the vessel’s tier classification and hull construction of tankers (double or single hull). However, vessels in ballast will only be assessed a fee corresponding to their tier classification.