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Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Combating Oil Spills in the
Wider Caribbean Region

Done at Cartagena de Indias 24 March 1983

Entered into force 11 October 1986

The Contracting Parties to this Protocol,

BEING Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection
and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean
Region, done at Cartagena de Indias on 24 March 1983,

CONSCIOUS that oil exploration, production and refining
activities, as well as related marine transport, pose a threat
of significant oil spills in the wider Caribbean region,

AWARE that the islands of the region are particularly
vulnerable, owing to the fragility of their ecosystems and the
economic reliance of certain of them on the continuous
utilisation of their coastal areas, to damage resulting from
significant oil pollution,

RECOGNISING that, in the event of an oil spill or the threat
thereof, prompt and effective action should be taken initially
at the national level, to organise and co-ordinate prevention,
mitigation and clean-up activities,

RECOGNISING FURTHER the importance of sound preparation,
co-operation and mutual assistance in responding effectively to
oil spills or the threat thereof,

DETERMINED to avert, through the adoption of measures to prevent
and combat pollution resulting from oil spills, damage to the
marine environment, including coastal areas, of the wider
Caribbean region,

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1


For the purposes of this Protocol:

1. "Wider Caribbean Region" means the Convention area as defined
in article 2 of the Convention and adjacent coastal areas.

2. "Convention" means the Convention for the Protection and
Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean

3. "Related interests" means the interests of a Contracting
Party directly affected or threatened and concerning, among

(a) maritime, coastal, port or estuarine activities;

(b) the historical and tourist appeal of the area in question,
including water sports and recreation;

(c) the health of the coastal population; and

(d) fishing activities and the conservation of natural

4. "Oil spill incident" means a discharge, or a significant
threat of a discharge, of oil, however caused, of a magnitude
that requires emergency action or other immediate response for
the purpose of its effects or eliminating the threat.

5. "Organisation" means the institution referred to in paragraph
3 of article 2 of the Convention.

6. "Regional Co-ordinating Unit" means the unit referred to in
the Action Plan for the Caribbean Environment Program.

Article 2


This Protocol applies to oil spill incidents which have resulted
in, or which pose a significant threat of, pollution to the
marine and coastal environment of the wider Caribbean region or
which adversely affect the related interests of one or more of
the Contracting Parties.

Article 3

General Provisions

1 The Contracting Parties shall, within their capabilities,
co-operate in taking all necessary measures, both preventive and
remedial, for the protection of the marine and coastal
environment of the wider Caribbean region, particularly the
coastal areas of the islands of the region, from oil spill

2. The Contracting Parties shall, within their capabilities,
establish and maintain, or ensure the establishment and
maintenance of the means of responding to oil spill incidents
and shall endeavour to reduce the risk thereof. Such means shall
include the enactment, as necessary, of relevant legislation,
the preparation of contingency plans, the identification and
development of the capability to respond to an oil spill
incident and the designation of an authority responsible for the
implementation of this Protocol.

Article 4

Exchange of Information

Each Contracting Party shall periodically exchange with the
other Contracting Parties up-to-date information relating to its
implementation of this Protocol, including the identity of the
authorities responsible for such implementation, and information
on their laws, regulations, institutions and operational
procedures relating to the prevention of oil spill incidents and
to the means of reducing and combating the harmful effects of
oil spills.

Article 5

Communication of Information Concerning and Reporting of Oil
Spill Incidents

1. Each Contracting Party shall establish appropriate procedures
to ensure that information regarding oil spill incidents is
reported as rapidly as possible, and shall, inter alia:

(a) require its appropriate officials, masters of ships flying
its flag and persons in charge of offshore facilities operating
under its jurisdiction to report to it any oil spill incident
involving their ships or facilities;

(b) request masters of all ships and pilots of all aircraft
operating in the vicinity of its coasts to report to it any oil
spill incident of which they are aware.

2. In the event of receiving a report regarding an oil spill
incident, a Contracting Party shall immediately notify all other
Contracting Parties whose interests are likely to be affected by
such incident, as well as the flag State of any ship involved in
it. The Contracting Party shall also inform the competent
international organisations. Furthermore, as soon as feasible,
it shall inform such Contracting Parties and competent
international organisations of measures it has taken to minimise
or reduce pollution or the threat thereof.

Article 6

Mutual Assistance

1. Each Contracting Party shall render assistance, within its
capabilities, to other Contracting Parties which request
assistance in responding to an oil spill incident within the
framework of joint response action agreed between or among the
requesting and assisting Contracting Parties.

2. Each Contracting Party shall, subject to its laws and
regulations, facilitate the movement into, through and out of
its territory of technical personnel, equipment and material
necessary for responding to an oil spill incident.

Article 7

Operational Measures

Each Contracting Party shall, within its capabilities, take
steps including those outlined below in responding to an oil
spill incident:

(a) make a preliminary assessment of the incident, including the
type and extent of existing or likely pollution effects;

(b) promptly communicate information concerning the incident
pursuant to article 5;

(c) promptly determine its ability to take effective measures to
respond to the incident and the assistance that might be

(d) consult as appropriate with other Contracting Parties
concerned in the process of determining the necessary response
to the incident;

(e) take the measures necessary to prevent, reduce or eliminate
the effects of the incident, including monitoring of the

Article 8

Subregional Arrangements

1. With a view to facilitating the implementation of the
provisions of this Protocol, and in particular articles 6 and 7,
the Contracting Parties should conclude appropriate bilateral or
multilateral subregional arrangements.

2. Contracting Parties to this Protocol which enter into such
subregional arrangements shall notify the other Contracting
Parties, as well as the Organisation, of the conclusion and the
content of such arrangements.

Article 9

Institutional Arrangements

The Contracting Parties designate the Organisation to carry out,
through the Regional Co-ordinating Unit when established and in
close co-operation with the International Maritime Organisation,
the following functions:

(a) assisting Contracting Parties, upon request, in the
following areas:

(i) the preparation, periodic review and updating of the
contingency plans referred to in paragraph 2 of article 3, with
a view, inter alia, to promoting the compatibility of the plans
of the Contracting Parties, and

(ii) publicising training courses and programs;

(b) assisting the Contracting Parties upon request, on a
regional basis, in the following areas:

(i) the co-ordination of regional emergency response activities,

(ii) the provision of a forum for discussion of such activities
and related topics;

(c) establishing and maintaining liaison with:

(i) competent regional and international organisations, and

(ii) appropriate private entities conducting activities in the
wider Caribbean region, including major oil producers, refiners,
oil spill clean-up contractors and co-operatives, and oil

(d) maintaining a current inventory of emergency response
equipment, materials and expertise available in the wider
Caribbean region;

(e) disseminating information on the prevention and combating of
oil spills;

(f) identifying or maintaining means for emergency response

(g) encouraging research by the Contracting Parties, competent
international organisations and appropriate private entities on
oil spill-related matters, including the environmental impacts
of oil spills and of oil spill control materials and techniques;

(h) assisting the Contracting Parties in the exchange of
information pursuant to article 4; and

(i) preparing reports and carrying out other duties assigned to
it by the Contracting Parties.

Article 10

Meetings of the Contracting Parties

1. Ordinary meetings of the Contracting Parties to this Protocol
shall be held in conjunction with ordinary meetings of the
Contracting Parties to the Convention held pursuant to article
16 of the Convention. The Contracting Parties to this Protocol
may also hold extraordinary meetings as provided for in article
16 of the Convention.

2. It shall be the function of the meetings of the Contracting

(a) to review the operation of this Protocol and to consider
special technical arrangements and other measures to improve its

(b) to consider means whereby regional co-operation could be
extended to incidents involving hazardous substances other than
oil; and

(c) to consider measures to improve co-operation under this
Protocol including, in accordance with paragraph 2 (d) of
article 16 of the Convention, possible amendments to this

Article 11

Relationship between this Protocol and the Convention

1. The provisions of the Convention relating to its protocols
shall apply to this Protocol.

2. The rules of procedure and the financial rules adopted
pursuant to article 20 of the Convention shall apply to this
Protocol, unless the Contracting Parties to this Protocol agree

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorised by
their respective Governments, have signed this Protocol.

DONE AT CARTAGENA DE INDIAS this twenty-fourth day of March one
thousand nine hundred and eighty-three in a single copy in the
English, French and Spanish languages, the three texts being
equally authentic.

Annex to the Protocol

On the basis of paragraph 2(b) of Article 10 of this Protocol,
the Contracting Parties at their first meeting are committed to
preparing, through an annex, the changes necessary to extend
this Protocol to regional co-operation to combat spills of
hazardous substances other than oil. Pending the preparation and
entry into force of such annex, the Protocol shall be
provisionally applied upon its entry into force to hazardous
substances other than oil.