Honduras: Oil Spill Response – new requirements

IG Circular

Published: 22 December 2017 Updated:

Circular issued by International Group clubs

UPDATE: Since publication of this Circular the enforcement of the new requirements has been postponed. A Circular issued by the General Director of Merchant Marine on 25 April states that the deadline for compliance for ships calling at Puerto Cortés is 26 May 2018.

Dear Sirs

Members are informed that there are new oil spill response requirements in Honduras. These will come into force on 1 January 2018 and will apply to both tank and non-tank vessels. The new regulations for Puerto Cortes in Honduras will enter into force on 26 May 2018.

The Honduras Maritime Authority has advised that according to Act DGMM-022-2015 all vessels must nominate an oil spill response organisation (OSRO) which has been approved by the Authority to secure the availability of private personnel and equipment necessary to remove, to the maximum extent practicable, a worst-case discharge, and to mitigate or prevent a substantial threat of such a discharge.

One such OSRO currently exists, Ocean Pollution Control S.A. Honduras, who has agreed to contract on an unamended RESPONSECON form in the event of a spill. Members will recall that RESPONSECON is the standard industry contract developed by BIMCO/ISCO for the hire of specialised spill response services and equipment in the event of an incident in international waters outside the United States. The terms and conditions conform to International Group's guidelines for vessel response plan contracts.

The Honduras Maritime Authority has confirmed that an IG Club's Certificate of Entry is sufficient evidence of insurance to cover the liability of the registered owner for pollution damage for all vessels calling at Honduran ports or requesting anchorage within Honduran waters. This is required to be submitted to Port State Control officials at least 24 hours prior to the vessel's arrival together with, for CLC tankers, the vessel's State Certificate issued in accordance with the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage.

The shipowner will also need to arrange via their local ship's agent in Honduras a "standby contract" - Certificate of Coverage for marine pollution response issued by Ocean Pollution Control S.A. Honduras. The wording of the stand-by contract conforms to International Group's guidelines. The contract has the following footer: "Ocean Pollution Control, S.A. Honduras Effective 01.12.2017" and is attached.

All Clubs in the International Group of P&I Clubs have issued similar circulars