Update on oil spill response requirements in Honduras

Subsequent to a publication last December by the International Group on new oil spill response requirements in Honduras, a circular issued by the Honduras General Director of Merchant Marine on April 25th has stated that the deadline for compliance for ships calling at Puerto Cortés is now May 26th 2018.

The new oil spill response requirements apply to both tank and non-tank vessels.

All vessels must nominate an oil spill response organisation (OSRO) which has been approved by the Authority to secure the availability of private personnel and equipment necessary to remove, to the maximum extent practicable, a worst-case discharge, and to mitigate or prevent a substantial threat of such a discharge.

Only one such OSRO currently exists, that being Ocean Pollution Control SA Honduras, which has agreed to contract on an unamended RESPONSECON form —  the standard industry contract developed by BIMCO/ISCO for the hire of specialized spill response services and equipment in the event of an incident in international waters outside the US – in the event of a spill. The terms and conditions conform to International Group’s guidelines for vessel response plan contracts.

The Honduras Maritime Authority has confirmed that an IG Club’s Certificate of Entry is sufficient evidence of insurance to cover the liability of the registered owner for pollution damage for all vessels calling at Honduran ports or requesting anchorage within Honduran waters. This is required to be submitted to Port State Control officials at least 24 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival together with, for CLC tankers, the vessel’s State Certificate issued in accordance with the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage.

The shipowner will also need to arrange via their local ship’s agent in Honduras a standby contract — Certificate of Coverage for marine pollution response issued by Ocean Pollution Control SA Honduras.