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Protocol concerning Marine Pollution Resulting from 
Exploration and Exploitation of the Continental Shelf 

Done at Kuwait on 29 March 1989 

THE CONTRACTING STATES, 

BEING Parties to the Kuwait Regional Convention for Co-
operation on the Protection of the Marine Environment from 
Pollution and to the Protocol concerning Regional Co-
operation in Combating Pollution by Oil and other Harmful 
Substances in Cases of Emergency; 

BEING AWARE of the Articles 76, 197 and 208 of the United 
Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982); 

RECOGNIZING the danger posed to the marine environment and to 
human health by pollution from exploration and exploitation 
of the Continental Shelf, and the serious problems resulting 
therefrom in the Sea Area under their national jurisdictions; 

CONSCIOUS of the need for further and more particular 
measures to prevent and control marine pollution from 
exploration and exploitation of the sea-bed and its subsoil; 

BEING MINDFUL of their existing obligations under 
International Law; and 

PROMPTED by the desire to implement Article III, paragraph 
(b), Article VII, and Article XIX of the Convention; 

HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS: 

Article I 

For the purposes of this Protocol: 

1. "Centre" means the Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Centre 
established under Article III paragraph 1 of the "Protocol 
concerning Regional Co-operation in Combating Pollution by 
Oil and other Harmful Substances in Cases of Emergency". 

2. "Certifying Authority" means any person or body of persons 
authorized by the Contracting State to issue a certificate of 
safety and fitness for purpose; 

3. "Chemical Use Plan" means a plan drawn up by the operator 
of an offshore installation which shows - 

a) the chemicals he intends to use in his operations; 

b) the purpose or purposes for which he intends to use the 
chemicals; 

c) the maximum concentrations of the chemicals he intends to 
use within any other substances, and maximum amounts he 
intends to use in any specified period; 

d) the area within which the chemical may escape into the 
marine environment; 

provided that where there is no known danger of a chemical 
escaping into the marine environment, it need not be included 
in the plan; 

4. "Competent State Authority" means any Government 
department, Agency or other Authority in the Contracting 
State designated to exercise the power or discharge the 
function referred to in this Protocol, with such designation 
to be formally communicated to the Organization; 

5. "Contracting State" means any State which has become a 
party to this Protocol; 

6. "Convention" means the Kuwait Regional Convention for 
Cooperation on the Protection of the Marine Environment from 
Pollution; 

7. "Council" means the organ of the Organization comprised of 
the Contracting States and established in accordance with 
Article XVI, paragraph (b) (i) of the Convention; 

8. "Garbage" means kitchen and domestic waste, refuse and 
solid wastes, other than any for which provision is made by 
any other Article of this Protocol, save for Article XII; 

9. "Guidelines" means only guidelines issued by the 
Organization and any amendments thereto in each case approved 
by the Council; 

10. "Licence" means a licence, permit including work permit, 
or authorization, formally issued under the authority of a 
Contracting State for undertaking an offshore operation; 

11. "Marine pollution" shall have the meaning given to it in 
Article I(a) of the Convention; 

12. "Offshore Installation" means any structure, plant or 
vessel, whether floating or fixed to or under the seabed, 
placed in a location in the Protocol Area (defined in Item 16 
in this Article) for the purpose of offshore operations, 
including any tanker for the time being moored and used for 
the temporary storage of oil, and including any plant for 
treating, storing or regaining control of the flow of crude 
oil; and for the purposes of certification under Article VI, 
an installation includes any integral part of the structure, 
plant, equipment or vessel, any attached lifting gear or 
safety mechanism, and any other part or equipment specified 
by the Contracting State as part of the installation; 

13. "Offshore Operations" means any operations conducted in 
the Protocol Area for the purposes of exploring of oil or 
natural gas or for the purposes of exploiting those 
resources, including any treatment before transport to shore 
and any transport of the same by pipeline to shore. It 
includes also any work of construction, repair, maintenance, 
inspection or like operation incidental to the main purpose 
of exploration or exploitation; 

14. "Operator" means any natural or juridical person who 
undertakes offshore operations as defined under item (13) of 
Article I of this Protocol; 

15. "Organization" shall have the meaning given to it in 
Article I(c)of the Convention; 

16. "Protocol Area" means all parts of the Continental Shelf 
of a Contracting State which fall within the Sea Area as 
defined in paragraph (a) of Article II of the Convention and 
all parts of its Continental Shelf contiguous therewith; 

17."Sewage" means - 

i) drainage and other waste from any form of toilet, urinal 
or water closet; 

ii) drainage from medical premises such as dispensary or 
sickbay, via wash-basins, wash-tubs and drains located in 
such premises; 

iii) other wastewaters when mixed with significant quantities 
of the drainage defined above; 

18. "Special Area" means that part of the Sea Area located 
north-west of the rhumb line between Ras Al Hadd (22o30'N, 
59o48'E) and Ras Al Fasteh (25o04'N, 61o25'E). 

Article II 

Contracting States shall require that all appropriate 
measures are taken to prevent, abate and control marine 
pollution from offshore operations in those parts of the 
Protocol Area within their respective jurisdictions taking 
into account the best available and economically feasible 
technology. Contracting States acting individually or jointly 
shall also take all appropriate steps to combat marine 
pollution from offshore operations within the parts of the 
Protocol Area under their jurisdiction. 

Such obligations shall be without prejudice to the more 
specific obligations accepted under this Protocol. 

Article III 

Each Contracting State shall ensure that in the Protocol Area 
under its jurisdiction any offshore operation shall be 
conducted under a licence, which may be granted subject to 
such conditions for the protection of the marine environment 
and coastal areas as the Competent State Authority sees fit 
to impose. The Competent State Authority shall require the 
operator to comply with relevant laws and regulations issued 
under the authority of the State, and shall have the power to 
take such measures as are necessary to enforce compliance 
therewith. 

Article IV 

1. Each Contracting State shall take measures to ensure the 
following: 

a) Before licensing any offshore operation which could cause 
significant risks of pollution in the Protocol Area or any 
adjacent coastal area, the Competent State Authority shall 
call for submission of an assessment of the potential 
environmental effects thereof. No such operation shall 
commence until a statement of those effects has been 
submitted, and no licence shall be granted until the 
Competent State Authority is satisfied that the operation 
will entail no unacceptable risk of such damage in the 
Protocol Area or any adjacent coastal area. 

b) In deciding to call for an environmental impact statement, 
and in determining its scope, the Competent State Authority 
shall have regard to the Guidelines issued by the 
Organization. 

c) Whenever a Competent State Authority has called for and 
received an environmental impact statement, it shall send to 
the Organization a summary of the potential environmental 
effects referred to in that statement. The Organization 
shall, within four days of its receipt, despatch copies of 
that summary to all the other Contracting States. The 
Competent State Authority before granting a licence for the 
proposed operation, shall allow all other Contracting States 
to submit representations to it through the Organization 
within a stated time which shall be reasonable taking into 
account the type of operation and the urgency of the need for 
a decision. It shall consider any such representations before 
licensing the said operation. 

Notwithstanding the obligation to send a summary to the 
Organization, the Contracting State shall have the right to 
withhold information which might prejudice its national 
security. 

2. Whenever a Contracting State does not call for an 
assessment of the environmental impact of a proposed offshore 
operation, it shall consider calling for a survey of the 
marine environment and the aquatic life therein to be made 
before the start of the proposed operation. The survey is to 
be carried out by or under the direct supervision of a body 
independent of the operator and approved by the Competent 
State Authority. 

3. The Guidelines on Environmental Impact Assessment to be 
issued by the Organization shall contain guidance on the type 
of operation, and the circumstances in which it would cause 
significant risk of pollution in the Protocol Area or any 
adjacent coastal area. 

Article V 

1. Each Contracting State shall endeavour to ensure that 
offshore operations within its jurisdiction shall not cause 
unjustifiable interference with lawful navigation, fishing or 
any other activity carried on under a bilateral or 
multilateral agreement or on the basis of international law, 
and that in siting an installation, due regard shall be had 
to existing pipelines and cables. Regard shall also be had to 
the need for protecting sites of special ecological and 
cultural interests. 

2. Each Contracting State shall take steps to ensure that, 
within the area of its jurisdiction, operators of offshore 
installations survey the sea-bed in the vicinity of their 
installations, and remove any debris resulting from their 
operations which might interfere with lawful fishing: 

a) in the case of a pipeline, or other sub-sea apparatus 
immediately following completion of the work of installation; 

b) in the case of a production platform, immediately 
following its removal; 

c) in any case when the Competent State Authority might 
reasonably require survey and clean-up. 

Article VI 

Each Contracting State shall take all practicable measures to 
ensure that every offshore installation to be used in that 
part of the Protocol Area within its jurisdiction is 
certified by a Certifying Authority or its designer that it 
is safe and fit for the purpose for which it is to be used so 
as to ensure that it will not cause accidental damage to the 
marine environment. 

Article VII 

Each Contracting State shall take all practicable measures to 
ensure the following: 

1. Operators shall at all times have available to their 
offshore installations, in good working order, equipment and 
devices to minimize the risk of accidental pollution and to 
facilitate prompt response to a pollution emergency, in 
accordance with good oilfield or other relevant industry 
practice. 

2. Any such plant or equipment not included as part of an 
installation for the purposes of Article VI shall be subject 
to prior examination and approval by or on behalf of the 
Competent State Authority, and to periodic inspection, in 
accordance with good oilfield or other relevant industry 
practice. 

3. Blow-out preventers and other safety equipment shall be 
tested periodically by the operator or on his behalf, and 
exercises in their operation carried out periodically, in 
accordance with good oilfield or other relevant industry 
practice. 

4. Offshore installations above sea level shall carry lights 
and other warning instruments, in accordance with 
international maritime practice, maintained in good working 
order, and those lights and instruments shall also be 
operated in accordance with international maritime practice. 

5. All persons engaged in offshore operations shall have had 
or be given training in accordance with good oilfield 
practice. Any person employed on an offshore installation for 
the first time shall undergo an induction course, and shall 
be given a manual which includes instruction on emergency 
procedures. 

Article VIII 

Each Contracting State shall take all practicable measures to 
ensure the following: 

1. No operator shall start work on any stage of his offshore 
operations within its jurisdiction until he has: 

a) prepared a Contingency Plan to deal with any event which 
may occur as a result of the operations, and which may cause 
significant pollution to the marine environment; 

b) had that plan approved by the Competent State Authority; 

c) shown to the satisfaction of that State authority that he 
has available to him sufficient expertise and resources to 
put that Plan fully into operation. 

2. No Contingency Plan shall be approved unless it can be co-
ordinated with any existing national or local Contingency 
Plans, and any Plans prepared by the Centre, and unless the 
operator can be required to participate in any exercise 
conducted in the implementation of such Contingency Plans. 

3. Any person conducting offshore operations shall make and 
maintain arrangements to ensure that when an event occurs as 
a result of his operations which may cause significant 
pollution of the marine environment, a full report of that 
event is sent immediately to the State authority designated 
to receive such reports. 

4. The respective roles and powers of the industry and the 
authorities shall be fully understood before an oil spill 
emergency, and shall be clearly defined in the operator's 
Contingency Plan, and in any national and local Contingency 
Plans. 

Article IX 

Each Contracting State shall take all practicable measures to 
ensure, subject to paragraph 2 below, the following: 

a) In that part of the Protocol Area which is a 'Special 
Area', no machinery space drainage from an offshore 
installation shall be discharged into the sea unless the oil 
content thereof does not exceed 15 mg per litre whilst 
undiluted. Any Contracting State may impose a more 
restrictive level in any area under its jurisdiction. 

b) No other discharge from an offshore installation into the 
sea within the Protocol Area, except one derived from 
drilling operations, shall have an oil content, whilst 
undiluted, greater than that stipulated for the time being by 
the Organization. The oil content so stipulated shall not be 
greater than 40 mg per litre as an average in any calendar 
month, and shall not at any time exceed 100 mg per litre. 

c) Discharge points for oily wastes shall be well below the 
surface of the sea as appropriate. 

d) All necessary precautions shall be taken to minimize 
losses of oil into the sea from oil and gas collected or 
flared from well testing. 

2. Measures passed in compliance with paragraph 1 of this 
Article may provide that there is no breach of their 
requirements if, when the oil content of a discharge is 
greater than the permitted concentrations, that excess was 
due to some accident or other cause beyond the control of the 
operator and his employees, and that they took all reasonable 
precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid such 
excess. Alternatively, a defence of equivalent effect may be 
provided. 

3. Each Contracting State shall ensure that the operator may 
be required to conduct surveys of environmental conditions in 
the vicinity of his offshore installation, periodically or on 
such occasions as the Competent State Authority may 
reasonably require. 

The State itself may conduct or have conducted such a survey. 
If, without apparent reason, the results of that survey show 
a significant difference from the results of the operator's 
most recent survey, without prejudice to any other legal 
action, the State may charge the cost of its own survey to 
the operator. 

4. Each Contracting State shall pass measures necessary to 
ensure the following: 

a) Oil-based drilling fluids shall not be used in drilling 
operations in those parts of the Protocol Area within its 
jurisdiction except with the express sanction of the 
Competent State Authority. Such sanction shall not be given 
unless the Authority is satisfied that the use of such fluid 
is justified because of exceptional circumstances. If such 
fluid is used, the drill cuttings shall be effectively 
treated to minimize their oil content before being 
appropriately disposed of. Any wash waters shall not be 
discharged at any place from which they may be carried to mix 
with the same drill cuttings. The discharge point for the 
cuttings shall, as appropriate, be well below the surface of 
the water. 

b) No oil-based drilling fluid shall be discharged to any 
parts of the Protocol Area within its jurisdiction. 

c) Water-based drilling muds discharged from off-shore 
operations must not contain persistent systematic toxins 
which may continue to pose an environmental threat after the 
initial drilling fluid discharge. 

Article X 

1. Each Contracting State shall take all practicable measures 
to ensure the following: 

a) Disposal into the sea of the following is prohibited: 

i) all plastics, including but not limited to synthetic 
ropes, synthetic fishing nets and plastic garbage bags; 

ii) all other garbage, including paper products, rags, glass, 
metal, bottles, crockery, dunnage, lining and packing 
materials; 

b) Disposal into the sea of food wastes shall be made as far 
as practicable from land, but in any case not less than 12 
nautical miles from the nearest land. 

c) When the garbage is mixed with other discharges having 
different disposal or discharge requirements the more severe 
requirements shall apply. 

d) Sewage shall not be discharged into the Protocol Area from 
an installation permanently manned by ten or more persons 
unless: 

i) it has been comminuted and disinfected using a system 
approved by the Competent State Authority and is discharged 
at a distance of more than four nautical miles from the 
nearest land; or 

ii) it is discharged at a distance of more than twelve 
nautical miles from the nearest land; or 

iii) it has passed through a treatment plant approved by the 
Competent State Authority; 

and in any case the discharge does not produce visible 
floating solids or discolouration of the surrounding water. 

2. Each Contracting State shall provide at convenient points 
on its coastline, reception facilities for general garbage 
from manned offshore installations operating in the area of 
its jurisdiction. 

Article XI 

1. Each Contracting State shall take all appropriate measures 
to ensure the following: 

a) Each operator of an offshore installation shall prepare, 
and submit for approval by the Competent State Authority, a 
"Chemical Use Plan". Application for amendments to the Plan 
may be submitted subsequently and approved. If at any time he 
wishes to use a chemical outside the scope of his approved 
Plan, and that chemical may escape into the marine 
environment, he shall notify the Competent State Authority, 
except that in case of emergency to prevent the risk of 
injury to person or extensive damage to property, the 
notification need not be given prior to the use of the 
chemical. 

b) The Competent State Authority has a power to prohibit, 
limit or regulate the use of a chemical or product and to 
impose conditions on its storage and its use, for the purpose 
of protecting the marine environment. In exercising that 
power, the Authority shall have regard to any Guidelines 
issued by the Organization. 

2. Each Contracting State shall take appropriate measures to 
ensure that seismic operations in the Protocol Area shall 
take into account the Guidelines issued by the Organization. 

Article XII 

Each Contracting State shall require that, for offshore 
operations in any part of the Protocol Area within its 
jurisdiction, the operator shall: 

1. provide adequate systems for collection and proper 
disposal of all unwanted substances or articles; 

2. give proper instructions on their use; 

3. endeavour to provide for penalties for improper disposal. 

Article XIII 

1. Each Contracting State shall ensure that the Competent 
Authority has the power to require the operator of an 
offshore installation: 

a) in the case of a pipeline - 

i) to flush and remove any residual pollutants from the 
pipeline, and 

ii) to bury the pipeline, or remove part and bury the 
remaining parts thereof, so as to eliminate for the 
foreseeable future any risk of hindrance to navigation or 
fishing, taking all circumstances into account. 

b) in the case of platforms and other sea-bed apparatus and 
structures, to remove the installation in whole or in part to 
ensure the safety of navigation and in the interests of 
fishing. 

Each Contracting State shall also take all practicable 
measures to ensure that the operator has sufficient resources 
to guarantee that any such requirements can be met. 

2. Where Contracting States have a common interest in fishing 
grounds in the Protocol Area, they shall endeavour to adopt a 
common policy on the removal of installations. 

In determining in any case whether or not installations must 
be removed, Contracting States shall have regard to any 
Guidelines issued by the Organization. Whether pipelines are 
removed or not, they shall be flushed to remove residual 
pollutants. 

3. Contracting States shall pass, and take all practicable 
steps to enforce, measures to ensure that no offshore 
installation which in use has floated at or near the sea-
surface, and no equipment from an offshore installation, 
shall be deposited on the sea-bed of the continental shelf 
when it is no longer needed. 

Article XIV 

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

2. Procedures for amendments to Protocols and their Annexes 
adopted in accordance with Articles XX and XXI of the 
Convention shall apply to this Protocol. 

3. The Rules of Procedure and Financial Rules adopted 
pursuant to Article XXII of the Convention, and amendments 
thereto, shall apply to this Protocol. 

Article XV 

1. This Protocol shall be open for signature in the State of 
Kuwait from 29 March to 26 June 1989 by any State which is 
party to the Kuwait Regional Convention for Co-operation on 
the Protection of the Marine Environment from Pollution. 

2. This Protocol shall be subject to ratification, 
acceptance, approval or accession by the States Parties to 
the Convention. Instruments of ratification, acceptance, 
approval or accession shall be deposited with the Government 
of Kuwait which shall assume the functions of the Depository. 

3. This Protocol shall enter into force on the ninetieth day 
following the date of deposit of at least five instruments of 
ratification, acceptance or approval of, or accession to this 
Protocol by the States as referred to in paragraph 2 of this 
Article. 

In WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, being 
duly authorized by their respective Governments, have signed 
this Protocol. 

DONE AT KUWAIT this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year 
one thousand nine hundred and eighty-nine in the Arabic, 
English and Persian languages, the texts being equally 
authentic.