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Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) -- Full Text File

Summary of the "Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Combating Pollution in Cases of Emergency" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

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Abidjan, 23 March 1981

Article 1

For the purposes of this Protocol:

1. "Appropriate National Authority" means the authority designated 
by the Government of a Contracting Party in accordance with 
paragraph 2 of article 16 of the Convention for Co-operation in 
the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal 
Environment of the West and Central African Region, and 
responsible for:

(a) Combating and otherwise operationally responding to marine 

(b) Receiving and co-ordinating reports of particular marine 

(c) Co-ordinating activities relating to marine emergencies in 
general within its own Government and with other Contracting 

2. "Marine Emergency" means any incident, occurrence or situation, 
however caused, resulting in substantial pollution or imminent 
threat of substantial pollution to the marine and coastal 
environment by oil or other harmful substances and includes, in 
particular, collisions, strandings and other incidents involving 
ships, including tankers, petroleum production blow-outs and the 
presence of oil or other harmful substances arising from the 
failure of industrial installations.

3. "Marine Emergency Contingency Plan" means a plan, prepared on a 
national, bilateral or multilateral basis, to deal with pollution 
and other adverse effects on the marine and coastal environment, 
or the threat thereof, resulting from accidents or other 
unforeseen events.

4. "Marine Emergency Response" means any activity intended to 
prevent, reduce, combat and control pollution by oil or other 
harmful substances or threat of such pollution resulting from 
marine emergencies and includes the clean-up of oil slicks and 
recovery or salvage of packages, freight containers, portable 
tanks, or road and rail wagons.

5. "Related Interests" means the interests of a Contracting Party 
directly or indirectly affected or threatened by a marine 
emergency, such as:

(a) Maritime, coastal, port or estuarine activities, including 
fisheries activities;

(b) Historic and tourist attractions of the area concerned;

(c) The health and well-being of the inhabitants of the area 
concerned, including the conservation of living marine resources 
and wildlife and the protection of marine and coastal parks and 

6. "Convention" means the Convention for Cooperation in the 
Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment 
of the West and Central African Region.

7. "Organization" means the organization referred to in article 16 
of the Convention as responsible for the secretariat functions of 
the Convention.

Article 2

The area to which this Protocol applies (hereinafter referred to 
as the 'protocol area") shall be the same as the Convention area 
as defined in article 1 of the Convention.

Article 3

This Protocol shall apply to actual or potential marine 
emergencies which constitute a substantial pollution danger to the 
Protocol area and related interests of the Contracting Parties.

Article 4

The Contracting Parties undertake to co-operate in all matters 
relating to the taking of necessary and effective measures to 
protect their respective coastlines and related interests from the 
threat and effects of pollution resulting from marine emergencies.

Article 5 

Each Contracting Party shall provide the other Contracting 
Parties and the Organization with information concerning:

(a) Its appropriate national authority;

(b) Its laws, regulations and other legal instruments relating 
generally to matters referred to in this Protocol, including those 
concerning the organization and operation of the appropriate 
national authority, to the extent that this organization and 
operation relates to matters referred to in this Protocol;

(c) Its national marine emergency contingency plans.

Article 6

The Contracting Parties shall exchange, either through the 
Organization or directly, information on research and development 
programmes, including results concerning ways in which pollution 
by oil and other harmful substances may be dealt with, and on 
experiences in combating such pollution.

1. Each Contracting Party undertakes to require masters of ships 
flying its flag and pilots of aircraft registered in its 
territory, and persons in charge of offshore structures operating 
under its jurisdiction, to report by the most rapid and adequate 
channels in the circumstances, and in accordance with the annex to 
this Protocol, to any Contracting Party:

(a) All accidents causing or likely to cause pollution of the sea 
by oil or other harmful substances;

(b) The presence, characteristics and extent of spillages of oil 
or other harmful substances observed at sea which are likely to 
present a serious and imminent threat to the marine environment or 
to the coast or related interests of one or more of the 
Contracting Parties.

2. Any Contracting Party receiving a report pursuant to paragraph 
1 above shall promptly inform the Organization and, either through 
the Organization or directly, the appropriate national authority 
of any Contracting Party likely to be affected by the marine 

Article 8

1. Any Contracting Party requiring assistance for dealing with a 
marine emergency, including the recovery or salvage of packages, 
freight containers, portable tanks, or road or rail wagons, may 
call for assistance from any other Contracting Party. The call for 
assistance shall be made initially to other Contracting Parties 
whose coastlines and related interests might be affected by the 
marine emergency involved. The Contracting Parties to whom a 
request is made pursuant to this paragraph undertake to use their 
best endeavours to render the assistance requested.

2. The assistance referred to in paragraph 1 of this article may 

(a) The provision and reinforcement of personnel, material, and 

(b) The provision and reinforcement of surveillance and monitoring 

(c) The provision of pollution disposal sites; or

(d) The facilitation of the transfer of personnel, equipment and 
material into, out of, and through the territories of the 
Contracting Parties.

3. Any Contracting Party requesting assistance pursuant to 
paragraph 1 of this article shall report the results following 
from the request to the other Contracting Parties and to the 

4. The Contracting Parties undertake to consider as soon as 
possible and in accordance with the means available to them the 
allocation of tasks for responding to marine emergencies within 
the Protocol area.

5. Each Contracting Party undertakes to inform the other 
Contracting Parties and the Organization of measures taken in 
dealing with marine emergencies in cases where those other 
Contracting Parties are not called upon to provide assistance.

Article 9

1. The Contracting Parties shall endeavour to maintain and 
promote, either individually or through bilateral or multilateral 
co-operation, marine emergency contingency plans and means for 
combating pollution by oil and other harmful substances. These 
means shall include, in particular, equipment, ships, aircraft and 
manpower prepared for operations in cases of emergency.

2. The Contracting Parties shall co-operate in developing standing 
instructions and procedures to be followed by their appropriate 
national authorities who have responsibility for receiving and 
transmitting reports of pollution by oil and other harmful 
substances made pursuant to article 7 of this Protocol. Such co-
operation shall be designed to ensure speedy and routine 
reception, transmission and dissemination of these reports.

Article 10

1. Each Contracting Party shall act in accordance with the 
following principles in the conduct of marine emergency responses 
carried out under its authority:

(a) Make an assessment of the nature and extent of the marine 
emergency and transmit the results of the assessment to any other 
Contracting Party concerned;

(b) Determine the necessary and appropriate action to be taken 
with respect to the marine emergency in consultation, where 
appropriate, with other Contracting Parties;

(c) Make the necessary reports and requests for assistance under 
articles 7 and 8 of this Protocol; and

(d) Take appropriate and practical measures to prevent, reduce, 
combat and control the effects of pollution, including 
surveillance and monitoring of the marine emergency.

2. In carrying out marine emergency responses under this Protocol 
the Contracting Parties shall:

(a) Act in conformity with the principles of international law and 
with international conventions having applicability to marine 
emergency responses; and

(b) Inform the Organization of those marine emergency responses.

Article 11

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 17 
of the Convention. The Contracting Parties to this Protocol may 
also hold extraordinary meetings, as provided in article 17 of the 

2. It shall be the function of the meetings of the Contracting 
Parties to this Protocol, in particular:

(a) To keep under review the implementation of this Protocol, and 
to consider the efficacy of the measures adopted and the need for 
any other measures, in particular in the form of annexes;

(b) To review and amend as required any annex to this Protocol;

(c) To discharge such other functions as may be appropriate for 
implementation of this Protocol.

Article 12

1. The provisions of the Convention relating to any protocol shall 
apply with respect to this Protocol.

2. The rules of procedure and financial rules adopted pursuant to 
article 21 of the Convention shall apply with respect to this 
Protocol, unless the Contracting Parties to this Protocol agree 

In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorized by 
their respective Governments, have signed this Protocol.

Done at Abidjan on this twenty-third day of March one thousand 
nine hundred and eighty-one in a single copy in the English, 
French and Spanish languages, the three texts being equally 



1. Each report shall, as far as possible, contain:

(a) The identification of the source of pollution (e.g. identity 
of the ship), where appropriate;

(b) The geographical position, time and date of the occurrence of 
the incident or of the observation;

(c) The marine meteorological conditions prevailing in the area;

(d) Where the pollution originates from a ship, relevant details 
respecting the condition of the ship.

2. Each report shall also contain, whenever possible:

(a) A clear indication or description of the harmful substances 
involved, including the correct technical names of such substances 
(trade names should not be used in place of the correct technical 

(b) A statement or estimate of the quantity, concentration and 
likely condition of harmful substances discharged or likely to be 
discharged into the sea;

(c) Where relevant, a description of the packaging and identifying 
marks; and

(d) The name of the consignor, consignee or producer.

3. Each report shall clearly indicate, whenever possible, whether 
the harmful substance discharged or likely to be discharged is oil 
or a noxious liquid, solid or gaseous substance, and whether such 
substance was or is carried in bulk or contained package form, 
freight containers, portable tanks, or submarine pipelines.

4. Each report shall be supplemented, as necessary, by any 
relevant information requested by a recipient of the report or 
deemed appropriate by the person sending the report.

5. Any of the persons referred to in article 7 of this Protocol 

(a) Supplement, as far as possible, the initial report, and as 
necessary, with information concerning further development; and

(b) Comply as fully as possible with requests from affected 
Parties for additional information.