UK National Standard for Marine Oil Spill Response Providers - Consultation

  • Published: 22nd January 2018
  • Category: Consultations
  • Committees: Offshore Panel, Legal Insurance Documentary

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have published a draft UK National Standard for Marine Oil Spill Response Providers. The document can be found below, and can also be found at:   

MCA has stated that the project was started with the aim of enabling the MCA and BEIS to better fulfil their requirements under the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC Convention). As it stands, the MCA’s OPRC Guidelines for Ports only require contingency plans to detail the contract they hold with accredited third-party Tier 2 marine oil spill response service providers. 

Similarly, BEIS’ Guidance Notes on Preparing Oil Pollution Emergency Plans (OPEP) require responsible persons to detail in OPEP’s to detail any contract held with an accredited marine oil spill response service provider. Other than identifying recognised accreditation bodies (UK Spill and ISAA), neither set of requirements actually outline what accreditation should entail. Consequently there is no minimum standard for service provision set out by the UK Government.

The UK Standard seeks to rectify this by guaranteeing a minimum standard for service provision. The objective is not to ‘gold-plate’, but rather to ensure that the capability supplied under Tier 2 contracts and under ad-hoc contracts is commensurate to the threat faced from marine oil pollution. By clearly outlining their minimum requirements in the first place, the MCA and BEIS will have a greater basis upon which to challenge poor service provision if it occurs. This level of government oversight is viewed as essential for an industry which has strategic importance to the UK.

The consultation will close on the 9th March 2018. 

Following this, MCA and BEIS will consider the comments received and reasonable amendments will be made to the Standard. The UK government envisages that the implementation of the Standard will take place in late spring to early summer of 2018. From this point marine oil spill response providers will have up to 12 months to be accredited under a scheme which applies the Standard and is approved by the MCA and BEIS. Following this 12 month grace period, if a provider is not accredited under a scheme which applies the UK Standard, they will no longer be recognised by the MCA and BEIS as service providers when OPRC Plans and OPEP’s are evaluated. The OPRC Guidelines for Ports and the Guidance Notes on Preparing Oil Pollution Emergency Plans will be amended to reflect this.

Members are invited to consider the proposals and to inform the UK Chamber (Katrina Ross, Policy Manager) accordingly if there are any concerns.


Draft Consultation Document - UK Marine Oil Pollution Responder Standard
Size 1.0 MB: DRAFT_UK_Marine_Oil_Pollution_Responder_Standard.pdf