Clarifying environmental input in oil pollution response arrangements

Article published in the Regulator | Issue 5: 2014 

The timely provision of quality environmental and scientific data and expert advice is critical to decision making and minimising environmental harm.

Quality data should underpin all tactical, operational, and strategic environmental impact assessments and management decisions. Timely access to up-to-date environmental and scientific data, and expert advice on its application, is used to:

  • validate and inform incident action planning

  • target field/tactical deployments

  • support operational decision-making

  • apprise governments.

Titleholders are advised to have oil pollution response arrangements in place that facilitate the provision of expert environmental advice in the event of a spill. In many instances the titleholder is required to have their own capabilities and processes in place to ensure appropriate environmental advice is available to support oil spill response arrangements.

For response arrangements in state waters,  the provision of environmental and scientific advice is usually coordinated on behalf of state agencies by a nominated state representative. This individual, the Environmental and Scientific Coordinator (ESC), has specific responsibilities and supporting processes, documented in the relevant state marine oil pollution plans.

While preparing EP submissions, titleholders must consider the legislative and administrative response arrangements of the jurisdiction where any response will be undertaken. Through consultation with the relevant state agencies, titleholders are encouraged to reflect state response arrangements in their EP submission.

For detailed information see Oil pollution risk management guidance note (PDF 465KB).