Oil Spills

What to do about oil spills

–Oil Pollution Act of 1990

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), which amends part of FWPCA/CWA, requires owners and operators of tank vessels and onshore and offshore facilities to develop and submit for approval an Oil Response Plan.4 These plans must, among other things, identify a qualified individual (QI) who is immediately available and who has full authority to implement actions provided in the plans.

Response plans must identify and ensure the availability of private personnel and equipment necessary to remove discharge to the maximum extent practicable.


–Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS)

Reading SOPEPIn the U.S., the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS)2 enacts some of the MARPOL regulations by establishing requirements for the following:


–Federal Water Pollution Control Act, a.k.a. The Clean Water Act

Clean Marine LifeThe Clean Water Act (CWA), the main water pollution control tool in the U.S., prohibits all discharges unless permitted.3


–Disposal of residues and noxious materials from chemical tankers


  • Use port reception facilities.
  • Know MARPOL limits for chemical residue being handled.
  • Know hazard information about chemical residue being handled.

Ways to prevent pollution

cleaning the tank

Ways to prevent pollution

The crew and officers should discuss safety and environmental concerns, reviewing any written documentation jointly, before an operation that has the potential to create pollution begins. The recommendations listed here provide some factors to consider, but you should follow your ship’s protocol.


Report an incident

To report a pollution incident involving your vessel, you should contact the National Response Center.

report a spillThe National Response Center (NRC) is the sole federal point of contact for reporting oil and chemical spills.

Subscribe to RSS - Oil Spills