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Spill Notification Point
Competent National Authority
Greenland is a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark. Responsibility for response to pollution at sea from oil and chemicals lies within 3 jurisdictions:
- Inside 3 nautical miles: Any spills inside the 3 nm zone fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs, Nature and Environment (MDANE), which reports directly to the government of Greenland.
- Spills from hydrocarbon related activities: Any spills from mineral and hydrocarbon related exploration and exploitation fall under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum (BMP), regardless of whether the spill is within or outside 3 nm of the Greenland coast. The BMP reports directly to the government of Greenland through the Minister of Mineral Resources. The Danish Centre for Environment and Energy ((DCE) formerly known as the Danish National Environmental Research Institute/NERI) acts as environmental adviser to the BMP.
- Spills outside 3 nm: Any spills outside the 3 nm zone fall under the jurisdiction of the Danish government. The Joint Arctic Command is appointed by the Danish government to monitor and combat these spills.
The Joint Arctic Command is the coastguard authority within Greenland. It has responsibility for overseeing the combat of pollution at sea, unless the spill is the result of a hydrocarbon licence holder’s activities. In the event of an oil spill outside 3 nm, the Joint Arctic Command has the authority to request suitable equipment and personnel from the Danish contingency equipment stockpile. The Joint Arctic Command also has the authority to liaise with bilateral and multilateral partners in accordance with the Copenhagen and CANDEN agreements.
In the event of an escalating or large spill incident related to a hydrocarbon licence holder’s operations, the BMP’s Contingency Committee (BMPCC) and an Emergency Response Group (ERG) would be mobilised comprising the BMP, Joint Arctic Command, the DCE, police and fire department representatives, local authorities, health authorities and a media representative. The Greenland government would be responsible for liaising with the Canadian and Danish governments to notify them of an incident and co-operate in an escalated pollution response strategy.
Within 3 nm, jurisdiction falls to the MDANE who, in practice, have delegated this task to local fire and rescue services.
An Environmental Oil Spill Sensitivity Atlas covering West Greenland offshore waters and coastal areas particularly sensitive to oil spills has been developed collaboratively by a number of Greenlandic and Danish institutions headed by DCE. The Atlas has been prepared to provide oil spill response planners and responders with tools to identify resources at risk, establish protection priorities and identify appropriate response and clean-up strategies. The Atlas can be freely accessed from either DCE’s or BMP’s webpage.
Offshore containment and recovery is the preferred strategy within all 3 jurisdictions. Within the BMP’s jurisdiction, dispersant application and in-situ burning are considered to be secondary strategies and prior permission must be sought from the BMP and a net environmental benefit analysis (NEBA) undertaken. Dasic Slickgone NS is approved as a dispersant for application in Greenland by the BMP. Approval of any other dispersant must be sought on a case-by-case basis.
Grovnment & Private
The national oil spill response company, Greenland Oil Spill Response A/S (GOSR), holds a stockpile of response equipment. Greenland’s fire and rescue services hold both offshore and shoreline equipment and have the capability for handling smaller coastline oil spills. Additional support in terms of personnel and equipment could be provided by the local municipalities.
Previous Spill Experience
There have been no serious spills in Greenland waters.
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional and bilateral agreements
- CANDEN Agreement (1983) aims at developing bilateral cooperation for protecting the marine environment of the waters lying between Canada and Greenland, particularly with respect to preparedness measures as a contingency against pollution incidents resulting from offshore hydrocarbon exploration or shipping activities.
- The 1971 Copenhagen Agreement (revised in 1993) between Denmark (including Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden also addresses marine pollution.
- Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of North-East Atlantic (OSPAR 1992) between Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom is the current legal instrument guiding international cooperation on the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic.
Date of issue: December 2012
Terms & Conditions
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