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


For a related treaty, see: Summary of the "Agreement for Cooperation in Dealing with Pollution of the North Sea by Oil and other Harmful Substances" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

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AGREEMENT FOR COOPERATION IN DEALING WITH POLLUTION OF 
THE NORTH SEA BY OIL AND OTHER HARMFUL SUBSTANCES

Bonn, 13 September 1983


The Governments of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of 
Denmark, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the 
Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of 
Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 
and the European Economic Community,

Recognizing that pollution of the sea by oil and other harmful 
substances in the North Sea area may threaten the marine 
environment and the interests of coastal States,

Noting that such pollution has many sources and that casualties 
and other incidents at sea are of great concern,

Convinced that an ability to combat such pollution is well as 
active co-operation and mutual assistance among States are 
necessary for the protection of their coasts and related 
interests,

Welcoming the progress that has already been achieved within the 
framework of the Agreement for Co-operation in dealing with 
Pollution of the North Sea by Oil, signed at Bonn on 9 June 1969,

Wishing to develop further mutual assistance and co-operation in 
combating pollution,

Have agreed as follows:


Article 1

This Agreement shall apply whenever the presence or the 
prospective presence of oil or other harmful substances polluting 
or threatening to pollute the sea within the North Sea area, as 
defined in Article 2 of this Agreement, presents a grave and 
imminent danger to the coast or related interests of one or more 
Contracting Parties.


Article 2

For the purpose of this Agreement the North Sea area means the 
North Sea proper southwards of latitude 61 deg N, together with:

(a) the Skagerrak, the southern limit of which is determined east 
of the Skaw by the latitude 57 deg 44.8 min N;

(b) the English Channel and its approaches eastwards of a line 
drawn fifty nautical miles to the west of a line joining the 
Scilly Isles and Ushant.


Article 3

1. The Contracting Parties consider that protection against 
pollution of the kind referred to in Article 1 of this Agreement 
is a matter which calls for active cooperation between them.

2. The Contracting Parties shall jointly develop and establish 
guidelines for the practical, operational and technical aspects of 
joint action.


Article 4

Contracting Parties undertake to inform the other Contracting 
Parties about:

(a) their national organization for dealing with pollution of the 
kind referred to in Article 1 of this Agreement;

(b) the competent authority responsible for receiving and 
dispatching reports of such pollution and for dealing with 
questions concerning measures of mutual assistance between 
Contracting Parties;

(c) their national means for avoiding or dealing with such 
pollution, which might be made available for international 
assistance;

(d) new ways in which such pollution may be avoided and about new 
effective measures to deal with it;

(e) major pollution incidents of this kind dealt with.


Article 5

1. Whenever a Contracting Party is aware of a casualty or the 
presence of oil or other harmful substances in the North Sea area 
likely to constitute a serious threat to the coast or related 
interests of any other Contracting Party, it shall inform that 
Party without delay through its competent authority.

2. The Contracting Parties undertake to request the masters of all 
ships flying their flags and pilots of aircraft registered in 
their countries to report without delay through the channels which 
may be most practicable and adequate in the circumstances:

(a) all casualties causing or likely to cause pollution of the 
sea;

(b) the presence, nature and extent of oil or other harmful 
substances likely to constitute a serious threat to the coast or 
related interests of one or more Contracting Parties.

3. The Contracting Parties shall establish a standard form for the 
reporting of pollution as required under paragraph 1 of this 
Article.


Article 6

1. For the sole purpose of this Agreement the North Sea area is 
divided into the zones described in the Annex to this Agreement.

2. The Contracting Party within whose zone a situation of the kind 
described in Article 1 of this Agreement occurs, shall make the 
necessary assessments of the nature and extent of any casualty or, 
as the case may be, of the type and approximate quantity of oil or 
other harmful substances and the direction and speed of movement 
thereof.

3. The Contracting Party concerned shall immediately inform all 
the other Contracting Parties through their competent authorities 
of its assessments and of any action which it has taken to deal 
with the oil or other harmful substances and shall keep these 
substances under observation as long as they are present in its 
zone.

4. The obligations of the Contracting Parties under the provisions 
of this Article with respect to the zones of joint responsibility 
shall be the subject of special technical arrangements to be 
concluded between the Parties concerned. These arrangements shall 
be communicated to the other Contracting Parties.


Article 7

A Contracting Party requiring assistance to deal with pollution 
or the prospective presence of pollution at sea or on its coast 
may call on the help of the other Contracting Parties. Contracting 
Parties requesting assistance shall specify the kind of assistance 
they require. The Contracting Parties called upon for help in 
accordance with this Article shall use their best endeavours to 
bring such assistance as is within their power taking into 
account, particularly in the case of pollution by harmful 
substances other than oil, the technological means available to 
them.


Article 8

1. The provisions of this Agreement shall not be interpreted as in 
any way prejudicing the rights and obligations of the Contracting 
Parties under international law, especially in the field of the 
prevention and combating of marine pollution.

2. In no case shall the division into zones referred to in Article 
6 of this Agreement be invoked as a precedent or argument in any 
matter concerning sovereignty or jurisdiction.


Article 9

1. In the absence of an agreement concerning the financial 
arrangements governing actions of Contracting Parties to deal with 
pollution which might be concluded on a bilateral or multilateral 
basis or on the occasion of a joint combating operation, 
Contracting Parties shall bear the costs of their respective 
actions in dealing with pollution in accordance with subparagraph 
(a) or subparagraph (b) below:

(a) If the action was taken by one Contracting Party at the 
express request of another Contracting Party, the Contracting 
Party requesting such assistance shall reimburse to the assisting 
Contracting Party the costs of its action;

(b) If the action was taken by a Contracting Party on its own 
initiative, this Contracting Party shall bear the costs of its 
action.

 2. The Contracting Party requesting assistance may cancel its 
request at any time, but in that case it shall bear the costs 
already incurred or committed by the assisting Contracting Party.


Article 10

Unless otherwise agreed the costs of action taken by a 
Contracting Party at the request of another Contracting Party 
shall be calculated according to the law and current practice in 
the assisting country concerning the reimbursement of such costs 
by a person or entity liable.


Article 11

Article 9 of this Agreement shall not be interpreted as in any 
way prejudicing the rights of Contracting Parties to recover from 
third parties the costs of action to deal with pollution or the 
threat of pollution under other applicable provisions and rules of 
national and international law.


Article 12

1. Meetings of the Contracting Parties shall be held at regular 
intervals and at any time when, due to special circumstances, it 
is so decided in accordance with the Rules of Procedure.

2. The Contracting Parties at their first meeting shall draw up 
Rules of Procedure and Financial Rules, which shall be adopted by 
unanimous vote.

3. The Depositary Government shall convene the first meeting of 
Contracting Parties as soon as possible after the entry into force 
of this Agreement.


Article 13

Within the areas of its competence, the European Economic 
Community is entitled to a number of votes equal to the number of 
its Member States which are Contracting Parties to the present 
Agreement. The European Economic Community shall not exercise its 
right to vote in cases where its Member States exercise theirs and 
conversely.


Article 14

It shall be the duty of meetings of the Contracting Parties:

(a) to exercise overall supervision over the implementation of 
this Agreement;

(b) to review the effectiveness of the measures taken under this 
Agreement;

(c) to carry out such other functions as may be necessary under 
the terms of this Agreement.


Article 15

1. The Contracting Parties shall make provision for the 
performance of secretariat duties in relation to this Agreement, 
taking into account existing arrangements in the framework of 
other international agreements on the prevention of marine 
pollution in force for the same region as this Agreement.

2. Each Contracting Party shall contribute 2.5% towards the annual 
expenditure of the Agreement. The balance of the Agreement's 
expenditure shall be divided among Contracting Parties other than 
the European Economic Community in proportion to their gross 
national product in accordance with the scale of assessment 
adopted regularly by the United Nations General Assembly. In no 
case shall the contribution of a Contracting Party to this balance 
exceed 20% of the balance.


Article 16

1. Without prejudice to Article 17 of this Agreement, a proposal 
by a Contracting Party for the amendment of this Agreement or its 
Annex shall be considered at a meeting of the Contracting Parties. 
Following adoption of the proposal by unanimous vote the amendment 
shall be communicated by the Depositary Government to the 
Contracting Parties.

2. Such an amendment shall enter into force on the first day of 
the second month following the date on which the Depositary 
Government has received notifications of approval from all 
Contracting Parties.


Article 17

1. Two or more Contracting Parties may modify the common 
boundaries of their zones described in the Annex to this 
Agreement.

2. Such a modification shall enter into force for all Contracting 
Parties on the first day of the sixth month following the date of 
its communication by the Depositary Government unless, within a 
period of three months following that communication, a Contracting 
Party has expressed an objection or has requested consultation on 
the matter.


Article 18

1. This Agreement shall be open for signature by the Governments 
of the States invited to participate in the Conference on the 
Agreement for Cooperation in Dealing with Pollution of the North 
Sea by Oil and Other Harmful Substances, held at Bonn on 13 
September 1983, and by the European Economic Community.

2. These States and the European Economic Community may become 
Parties to this Agreement either by signature without reservation 
as to ratification, acceptance or approval or by signature subject 
to ratification, acceptance or approval followed by ratification, 
acceptance or approval.

3. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be 
deposited with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Article 19

1. This Agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the 
second month following the date on which the Governments of all 
the States mentioned in Article 18 of this Agreement and the 
European Economic Community have signed the Agreement without 
reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval or have 
deposited an instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval.

2. Upon the entry into force of this Agreement, the Agreement for 
Co-operation in dealing with Pollution of the North Sea by Oil, 
done at Bonn on 9 June 1969, shall cease to be in force.


Article 20

1. The Contracting Parties may unanimously invite any other 
coastal State of the North East Atlantic area to accede to this 
Agreement.

2. In such a case Article 2 of this Agreement and its Annex shall 
be amended as necessary. The amendments shall be adopted by 
unanimous vote at a meeting of the Contracting Parties and shall 
take effect upon the entry into force of this Agreement for the 
acceding State.


Article 21

1. For each State acceding to this Agreement, the Agreement shall 
enter into force on the first day of the second month following 
the date of deposit by such State of its instrument of accession.

2. Instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Government 
of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Article 22

1. After this Agreement has been in force for five years it may be 
denounced by any Contracting Party.

2. Denunciation shall be effected by a notification in writing 
addressed to the Depositary Government which shall notify all the 
other Contracting Parties of any denunciation received and of the 
date of its receipt.

3 . A denunciation shall take effect one year after its receipt by 
the Depositary Government.


Article 23

The Depositary Government shall inform the Contracting Parties 
and those referred to in Article 18 of this Agreement of:

(a) any signature of this Agreement;

(b) the deposit of any instrument of ratification, acceptance, 
approval or accession and of the receipt of any notice of 
denunciation;

(c) the date of entry into force of this Agreement;

(d) the receipt of any notification of approval relating to 
amendments to this Agreement or its Annex and of the date of entry 
into force of such amendments.


Article 24

The original of this Agreement, of which the English, French and 
German texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the 
Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, which shall send 
certified copies thereof to the Contracting Parties and which 
shall transmit a certified copy to the Secretary-General of the 
United Nations for registration and publication in accordance with 
Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.

In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto 
by their respective Governments, have signed this Agreement.

Done at Bonn, this thirteenth day of September 1983.