China regulations on the prevention and control of marine pollution from ships

The International Group of P&I Clubs has published a circular referring to the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the Prevention and Control of Marine Pollution from Ships, and the requirement that Owners/Operators of

  • any ship carrying polluting and hazardous cargoes in bulk or
  • any other ship above 10,000 gt

enter into a pollution clean-up contract with a Ship Pollution Response Organisation (SPRO) before the ship enters a PRC port or engages in loading, discharge or ship-to-ship transfers outside of the port but within 20nm off shore.

The Maritime Safety Agency (MSA) recently published new Measures of Administration on Agreement for Ship Pollution Response Regime, which became effective on March 1st, 2020.

Further clarifications and feedback on the new Measures have since been received from the International Group’s (IG) advisers in the PRC and the China MSA.

It has been clarified that no SPRO Agreement is now needed for any of the following:

  1. Any ship under 10,000 gt either in ballast or carrying a liquid cargo in bulk not listed in the Directory; or
  2. Any ship of any size that is driven by clean fuels and either
    1. carrying a liquid cargo not in bulk (even if that liquid is listed in the Directory) or
    1. carrying a liquid in bulk that is not listed in the Directory or
    1. carrying a non-liquid (i.e. solid) cargo.

Oil booming is still only required, inter alia, for ships loading, discharging, transferring over 300mt of cargoes listed in the Directory.

A copy of the Directory is also now available (in Chinese) on the China MSA website

For the avoidance of doubt, it should also be noted that, save for those ships falling within (1) or (2) above, all ships over 10,000 gt, regardless of what cargo is being carried, are required to enter into a SPRO agreement in accordance with the Article 11 requirements as set out in the amended SPRO table.