The Sea Pollution (Amendment) Act 1999 anticipates a requirement on coastal local authorities to develop and implement oil and/or HNS spill contingency plans. My Department, through the Irish Coast Guard, recently published a National Maritime Oil & HNS Spill Contingency Plan (NCP). This Plan establishes a national framework and strategy to coordinate marine pollution preparedness and response, including at local authority level.
The Irish Coast Guard (IRCG), as the competent national authority, ensure oversight and approval of contingency planning and response of entities such as local authorities, harbour authorities, offshore units and Oil/HNS handling facilities. The IRCG works closely with relevant local entities to ensure they have plans in place and that the personnel involved are adequately trained. The NCP also seeks to harmonise and standardise both the current and future local authority plans, and other plans to which the requirements pertains. Additionally, the NCP provides content guidelines and assessment criteria for those organisations, including local authorities, in developing oil and/or HNS spill contingency plans – all of which enable local authorities to comply with their legal requirements.