Guidelines on International Offers of Assistance (IOA) in Response to a Marine Oil Pollution Incident (I558E) - 2016 Edition

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This publication outlines the guidelines on international offers of assistance (IOA) in response to a marine oil pollution incident.

This guide to international offers of assistance (IOA) in response to marine oil pollution incidents is designed to be consulted during large, complex or significant oil spills within inland areas as well as marine or coastal environments. Topics covered include:

  • Recommended considerations for parties involved in IOA
  • IOA coordination system
  • communications between parties
  • customs, legal and financial issues
  • advanced planning
  • response equipment categories, stockpiles and source considerations.

The Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MO DU) spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 highlighted the importance of international stakeholder planning and coordination to ensure maximum resource availability and utilization during a catastrophic oil spill or hazardous substance event. Several nations stepped forward to assist the United States during the DWH incident. These offers included equipment, technical expertise and general assistance. The extensive support from the international partners of the United States cannot be overstated; however, the event highlighted the need for guidelines for procedures for requesting and receiving emergency assistance in events of this scale including a common lexicon of equipment terminology and an international equipment inventory.

The Guidelines on international offers of assistance (IOA ) in response to a marine oil pollution incident was considered at the OPRC-HNS Technical Group, a subsidiary body of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (ME PC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO ), finalized at the second session of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Preparedness and Response (PPR), and approved at the sixty-eighth session of the ME PC in May 2015.

As a specialised agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.

In other words, its role is to create a level playing-field so that ship operators cannot address their financial issues by simply cutting corners and compromising on safety, security and environmental performance. This approach also encourages innovation and efficiency.

Shipping is a truly international industry, and it can only operate effectively if the regulations and standards are themselves agreed, adopted and implemented on an international basis. And IMO is the forum at which this process takes place.

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9789280116519
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August 2016
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International Maritime Organization

Publication Date:
July 2016