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Regional Agreement
ASEAN Regional Cooperative Mechanism for Oil Spill Preparedness and Response

The establishment of a Regional Cooperative Mechanism for Oil Spill Preparedness and Response for Southeast Asian region.

In the 28th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Maritime Transport Working Group (ASEAN MTWG) meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the final text of the MOU was finally agreed. It was signed during the 20th ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) Meeting on the 28th of November 2014 in Mandalay, Myanmar.

The MOU is based on the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC 1990), particularly articles 5, 6, 7, and 10. The MOU includes details on the areas of cooperation:

  • Implement IMO conventions to prepare for, reduce and control oil spills
  • Undertake measures to prepare for and respond to oil spills incidents in the ASEAN region
  • Develop a Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan to coordinate and integrate response to oil spill incidents that may affect one or more ASEAN member or exceeds the capacity of an ASEAN member
  • Develop strategies and programs to strengthen capacity and capability of ASEAN members including regular joint training courses or joint exercises to improve the level of preparedness, cooperation and coordination among operational personnel and response teams
  • Share information to enhance level of research and studies on the scientific and technical aspects of oil spill preparedness and response
  • Jointly conduct and/or share the results of research and studies on the scientific and technical aspect of oil spill preparedness and response
  • Promote partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including ASEAN dialogue partners, governmental and non-governmental organizations and shipping and petroleum industries

An integral commitment of the ASEAN member countries in the MOU is the development of a Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan (ROSCP) and exercising regional cooperation. There are also a number of sub-regional and bilateral agreements in place between the ASEAN member countries. Some of these have been in place for a number of years but rarely updated and their status remain unclear.

Timeline in the Development of the ASEAN MOU

1991

The Japan Association of Maritime Safety (JAMS) and the Nippon Foundation initiated the ASEAN OSRAP (Association of Southeast Asian Nations Oil Spill Response Action Plan).

1993

On May 20, 1993 the six ASEAN member countries, namely Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore signed an MoU establishing the ASEAN OSRAP. The main objective was to provide a co-operative plan for mutual assistance from Member States and organizations in the event of a major oil spill incident that exceeds the response capability of the national government. The geographic scope of the ASEAN OSRAP includes all the waters within the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) of the ASEAN member countries.

1994

Japan sponsored the OSPAR (Oil Spill Preparedness and Response) project in 1994 where 1 billion yen was donated to the ASEAN countries for the purchase of oil spill equipment to reinforce national stockpiles in 11 key locations. The OSPAR project also enabled the development of the ASEAN Oil Spill Information Network System.

1995-1999

Burma (now Myanmar), Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam joined ASEAN. They did not, however, sign the ASEAN OSRAP MoU.

2009

The implementation of the original ASEAN OSRAP had met with challenges, as only six countries were party to the MoU. The IMO set out to revitalize the MOU by holding a National Focal Points Meeting and a Workshop in 2009 hosted by Indonesia. The MoU was reviewed and a draft Strategy and Action Plan (SAP) was agreed to strengthen it.

2011

On October 2011, a follow-up Regional Workshop funded by IMO made policy recommendations on the establishment of a Regional Cooperation Mechanism on oil spill preparedness and response including the development of a regional action plan. It was also agreed that the revised MOU would include all the 10 ASEAN member states within the Brunei Action Plan. This was followed up by another IMO funded Regional Workshop a year later where the draft MOU for the ASEAN Cooperative Mechanism was drafted for submission to the 24th meeting of the ASEAN MTWG.

2013

On March 19, 2013, the 4th IMO funded Regional Workshop for the establishment of a Regional Cooperative Mechanism for Oil Spill Preparedness and Response in the ASEAN region was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. The outcome of the workshop included the final draft MoU on Joint Oil Spill Preparedness and Response in the ASEAN region for endorsement by the 35th session of the Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM) and an action plan to implement the provisions of the draft MoU. The final text of the draft MoU was subsequently approved during the 26th Meeting of the ASEAN MTWG held in Yangon, Myanmar August 22-24, 2013.

2014

On November 28, 2014, the ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) signed the MoU on ASEAN Cooperation Mechanism on Joint Oil Spill Preparedness and Response (ASEAN MOU) during the 20th ATM Meeting in Mandalay, Myanmar.

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Full text of the Memorandum of Understanding on ASEAN Cooperation Mechanism for Joint Oil Spill Preparedness and Response (ASEAN MOU)Read article
At a Glance

Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan

The Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan (ROSCP) has been developed under the Memorandum of Understanding on ASEAN Cooperation Mechanism for Joint Oil Spill Preparedness and Response (ASEAN MOU) which entered into force on 28 November 2014. It provides a mechanism whereby ASEAN Member States can request and provide mutual support in response to oil spills, to the extent that their resources allow. 

The ROSCP  was formally adopted in the 24th ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) Meeting on 8 November 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. 

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