The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 and its protocol of 1978, commonly known as MARPOL 73/78, are the regulations for the prevention of pollution by the various substances carried by ships as drawn up by the International Conference on Marine Pollution. These regulations have been adhered to by Argentina and incorporated into Coastguard (PNA) regulations known as REGINAVE. MARPOL 73/78 was finally ratified by the Argentine government by Law 24.089 on 1/7/92.
A number of annexes and amendments have been made from time to time as given in the updated version of MARPOL 73/78 which is issued annually and should be consulted for further details. In addition to what has been mentioned under 'Contamination' (see Chapter Two, RPSG Guide) Argentina and Uruguay have subscribed a further convention in connection with pollution and within waters of the aforementioned treaty, dated 16th September, '87. Marine pollution from ships is to be considered as an offense and must be regarded as serious due to the consequences involved. Delays, heavy fines, and possible arrest of either ship, Master, Chief Engineer and other members of the crew are to be envisaged.
Any vessel involved in an oil spillage or pollution should report this immediately to their Owners Agents and P&I Club in order to bring about protective action as soon as possible in the best interests of all parties. If possible, the polluted environment should be jointly sampled with the attending authority; likewise samples from alleged source (own ship) are also to be taken. All samples are to be sealed and witnessed by concerned parties prior to delivery to a recognized laboratory and a similar sample kept on board.
Vessels requiring services in connection with slops or leftovers from tank washings or other wastes/contaminants should advise acting Agents with due anticipation in order to make suitable arrangements, if possible, for their withdrawal. Some advances have been made near the Federal Capital, as to offering suitably built 'slop pools' where de-grading can be carried out in a controlled manner. Oil majors have drawn up joint agreements in connection with contingency plans towards the control of petroleum spillages, and equipment for this purpose is stationed at Campana, Buenos Aires, La Plata, Bahía Blanca, Comodoro Rivadavia and San Sebastián, to be used as required and to complement those of the Coastguard.
All ports do not possess adequate means to handle contaminants. For particular details please refer to respective area/port. Those ships wishing to perform maintenance work (chipping and painting) on the ship's hull whilst afloat and in port or roads must request beforehand appropriate permission, via Agents, from the Coastguard at least five (5) days before commencement of intended work. Additional information on all questions related to marine pollution and/or contaminating substances can be obtained or channeled through the "Hazardous Merchandise and Contaminants" Department of the Coastguard, Head Office Avenida Madero 235, Office 2439, phone 4318-7669. Vessels taking on bunkers at Argentine ports or roads are recommended to pay particular attention to any spillages attributable to the party supplying bunkers, ie. barge or tank trucks. Other aspects of pollution are legislated under Laws 21.353, 21.947 and 22.190, dpma@prefecturanaval.gov.ar
Contingency plans for tankers
A regulation on spillage response arrangements is in force since 2003 according to which tankers calling at Argentine ports must have contingency plans approved by the local Environmental Protection Department, including the appointment of a spill response organization. There are three cases contemplated: foreign flagged tankers sailing under exemption agreement of the Internal Navigational Law (Ley de Cabotaje); foreign flagged vessels carrying out non habitual trips; and foreign flagged line tanker vessels. In the latter case, within as much as 30 days prior to the arrival of the tanker, the vessel's owner or his shipping agent must submit an emergency plan in Spanish following the guidelines of Annex 18 of Ordinance 08/98 of the Environmental Protection Agency (DPMA).