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Spill Notification Point
Harbour Master/Pollution Control Department
Port of Karachi
General Manager, Harbour Master Tel: +92-21 921 4375 Pollution Control Department Tel: +92-21 921 4530 ext. 2561
Competent National Authority
The competent national authority for oil spill response is the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) under the Ministry of Defence. Contact details are as for spill notification point above.
Pakistan's National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan, drawn up in the wake of the 2003 TASMAN SPIRIT incident, was approved in 2008. It is based on the tiered response concept. The Plan is divided into three major areas to deal with spillage, including Hazardous and Noxious Substances, search and rescue operations and salvage operations. It provides a national system for prompt response and relief operations with the Pakistan Navy in the lead role.
The execution of the plan is ordered by the Chairman of the Pakistan Maritime Disaster Management Board (PMDMB) which is headed by the Chief of the Naval Staff. The Director General of PMSA is the Coordinator of the Marine Disaster Response Committee (MDRC) which deals with the response at operational level. The response committee coordinates its efforts from the Disaster Response Centre (DRC) established at HQ PMSA. This is manned round the clock by PMSA staff.
The port authorities control spill response within port limits. However, since response resources are relatively limited, they are likely to call for assistance from the PMSA. When oil impacts the coastline the relevant provincial government is responsible for clean-up although it is likely they too would turn to the PMSA for assistance. In a major incident, the spiller would be called upon to provide resources and equipment.
Limited response resources are available in Pakistan which allow for some mechanical recovery of oil at sea and the application of dispersants from vessels and a helicopter. In ports and inshore areas, limited mechanical containment and recovery is likely. Shoreline cleaning will be primarily manual using local manpower and materials.
Government & Private
Specialised oil spill response equipment is limited to that held by the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), which would be deployed and operated by PMSA onboard their patrol vessels (dispersant, spraying equipment and skimmers). There is a single helicopter dispersant application system available. A number of KPT, PMSA and military personnel have received oil spill response training.
Since the TASMAN SPIRIT spill a Mutual Oil Spill Auxiliary Committee (MOSAC) has been formed. This comprises a group of oil-handling companies that, under direction from the Director of Ports and Shipping, have been requested to maintain a Tier 1 stockpile of oil spill response equipment (boom, skimmers, sorbent), enough to deal with a few tens of tonnes of spilled oil.
There are no significant privately owned stocks of response equipment in Pakistan, nor specialist spill response contractors. Mechanical equipment and manpower for beach cleaning are readily available from provincial government and private sources. For major spills, assistance would be sought from OSRL Singapore.
Previous Spill Experience
The YASHIKA 6 (1998) spilled furnace oil in an area west of Karachi. Clean-up operations at sea were limited by the weather and the availability of resources. No oil reached the shoreline. The TASMAN SPIRIT grounded at the entrance of Karachi port in July 2003, spilling an estimated 30,000 tonnes of Iranian crude oil, some of which stranded on nearby tourist beaches. A major salvage and cleanup operation was launched. Given the easily dispersible nature of the oil, permission was given for large-scale dispersant use and aerial application equipment was brought in from abroad. The main clean up of Karachi's sandy beaches was undertaken by government, military and private resources over a period of several months.
Hazardous & Noxious Substances (HNS)
Pakistan has had no experience of ship-source HNS incidents, but it is understood that spills of HNS would be dealt with according to the National Marine Disaster Contingency Plan in a similar manner to oil spill incidents. Pakistan is making steps towards ratifying OPRC-HNS and the HNS Convention. Port Qasim Authority and the Karachi Port Trust would be able to provide on-site monitoring and the PMSA would be able to offer modelling support.
Prevention & Safety
|OPRC '90||OPRC HNS|
* not yet in force
Regional and bilateral agreements
South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) with Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and the Maldives (established by UNEP).
MoU for the Co-operation on the Response to Oil and Chemical Pollution in the South Asia Seas Region (signed by Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh & Maldives to date)
Date of issue: December 2015
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