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Discussing national preparedness on the OPRC HNS Protocol

Stakeholders Consultation on the OPRC HNS Contingency Plan

MIMA Seminar Room
4 April 2018

The Marine Department Malaysia organised the above forum on the Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Cooperation to Pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) 2000 or the OPRC HNS Protocol which aims to provide a framework for establishing systems for preparedness and responses in combating incidents or threats of marine pollution involving HNS at the national level, as well as to discuss the draft OPRC HNS Roadmap and Contingency Plan. 

The OPRC HNS Protocol expands the scope of the 1990 International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC Convention 1990). It was adopted in March 2000 and entered into force on 14 June 2007. It came into force in Malaysia on 21 February 2014.

Under the OPRC HNS Protocol 2000, hazardous and noxious substances or HNS are “any substance other than oil which, if introduced into the marine environment, is likely to create hazards to human health, to harm living resources and marine life, to damage amenities or to interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea”.

The Protocol covers pollution incidents or related threats from HNS including the discharge, release or emission of HNS including those from fires or explosives which may pose a threat to the marine environment or the coastline, and would require an emergency or immediate response.

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The meeting was Chaired by Ms. Cheryl Rita from MIMA

The forum was chaired by Ms. Cheryl Rita, Head of the Centre for Coastal and Marine Environment MIMA. Mr. Fairoz Rozali from the Marine Department presented the OPRC HNS Roadmap and the draft HNS Spill Contingency Plan.     

The forum was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Transport, Department of Marine Parks, Department of Chemistry, Fire and Rescue Department, Petroleum Industry of Malaysia Mutual Aid Group (PIMMAG), Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Johor Port Authority, Klang Port Authority, Penang Port Commission, and the Malaysian Shipowners’ Association (MASA). 

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During the meeting

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Relevant government agencies and industry players at the forum

Mr. Fairoz provided the background on the OPRC HNS Protocol including emphasis on the need to establish a national system for responding to oil and HNS pollution incidents, designation of a national authority, and a national contingency plan and preparedness. He elaborated on the specific components within the draft Roadmap which included the database and risk assessment model, response center, equipment, human development, competent response team, as well as the detailed contingency plan and its components, and identified strategies.

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Mr. Fairoz from Marine Department

The meeting discussed several key areas within the plan including the integration of efforts between the existing plan on oil spills and HNS, overlapping jurisdictions, the level of involvement required from relevant agencies, the proposed Tiers-based approach, participation from industry players, support from the government sector, timeline proposed for the Action Plan, legislative and legal framework, and other details.  

The meeting agreed to consider the issues, suggestions, and recommendations for the next round of consultations to further improve the draft plan.

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