Summary of Working Paper No. 129-1999

II.6.10 The NSR Oil Spill Contingency Plan

By G.N. Semanov, Y.B. Kirsh and O.B. Grachyova, Central Marine Research and Design Institute, St.Petersburg, Russia.

The Northern Sea Route oil spill contingency plan (hereinafter the NSR Plan) is a constituent part of the territorial and functional sub-system of the Single Russian system of ensuring preparedness and response to emergency situations. With regard for the Arctic conditions the NSR Plan consists of two regional parts: for the Western and Eastern sectors of the Arctic. Its main purpose is to ensure preparedness and response to oil spillages in the Arctic seas as well as coordination of interaction of Operations Control Headquarters (OCHq) established on a permanent basis in all Russian Federation subjects within whose limits lies the NSR.

The OCHq include representatives of large companies, navy, frontier service and bodies monitoring the environment quality. The owners of facilities where accidents occurred are engaged in the work of the OCHq. The plan describes in detail the distribution of the rights, duties and responsibilities of the OCHq officials.

When dealing with an oil spill, the task of the OCHq includes the ensurance of proper cooperation of all forces and means for OSC, preparation of a final report on the results of OSC operation. If it is impossible to deal with a spill by own forces the OCHq asks for the assistance of the OCHq of the neighbouring Federation subjects, submits proposals to the SMPCSRA on establishing a federal OCHq and/or on rendering assistance from contiguous states. In the first place consideration is given to the variant of asking for the assistance from the countries with which Russia has appropriate agreements. With regular intervals, the OCHq arranges exercises and drills in actions connected with emergencies.

OSC operations are impossible without appropriate information support. Therefore, the plan gives the diagram of notification, transmittance and reception of the information. Its contents and volume shall meet the requirements of the OPRC and Russian legislation.

The plan contains recommendations on the algorithm of taking a decision about the beginning of operations, the order of their documentation, gives a brief description of OSC technologies feasible in the conditions of the NSR.

In priniple, expenses for OSC including compensation for damages are reimbursed at the cost of the person responsible for reimbursement of a damage in the case of an accident connected with oil spillage.

Diagram of communication and notification about oil spill, example of taking decision on oil spill combating, composition and structure of Operations Control Headquarters, technical means for combating the oil spills on NSR, inventory of floating facilities and aircraft means for combating the oil spills at sea, the information about volumes and directions of oil transportation over the NSR, the calculation of the probable amount of oil outflow, brief description of the behavior of spilled oil on open water and in ice conditions, detailed description of natural and hydrometeorological characteristics of areas of probable oil spillages are given in the plan as Annexes to it. The plan is approved and adopted by response organizations.