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Update Volume 2020/7 Regulations of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the prevention and control of Marine Pollution from ships

Published on 24 march 2020

We refer to the article issued on 15 June 2015 on China Spill Response Contract about the prevention and control of marine pollution from ships and the requirement that owners/operators of:

(a) any ship carrying polluting and hazardous cargoes in bulk; or 
(b) 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.

Members are informed that the PRC Maritime Safety Agency (MSA) recently published new measures of administration on agreement for Ship Pollution Response Regime which came into effect on 1 March 2020.

In conjunction with the new measures, the MSA has also published a directory of hazardous bulk liquid cargo apt to cause pollution (the ‘directory’) for which oil booms need to be deployed during cargo operations or an agreement with an SPRO needs to be concluded.

As can be seen from the updated SPRO table (appendix A), there is no material change to the SPRO requirements. As a result, however, owners and members will note that from 1 March 2020, you will not need SPRO agreements for any of the following:

  • any ship under 10,000 GT either in ballast or carrying a liquid cargo in bulk not listed in the directory;
  • any ship of any size that is driven by clean fuels and either:
    (i) carrying a liquid cargo not in bulk (even if that liquid is listed in the directory);
    (ii) carrying a liquid in bulk that is not listed in the directory;
    (iii) carrying a non-liquid (ie solid) cargo. 

A copy of the directory is now available (in Chinese) on the China MSA website.

Pursuant to the new measures, the MSA no longer publishes its own recommended SPRO agreement wording and the parties are free to negotiate all terms. The China Diving and Salvage Association (CDSA) established a new committee which will take responsibility for training and assessing the capabilities of SPROs, establishing a central database for information as to SPRO capabilities and negotiating contract terms. 
However, this committee is in its infancy and owners are advised to check with local agents, and the club when looking for a new SPRO for a particular Chinese port.

In 2015 the International Group (IG) published a standard wording for SPRO agreements  and recommends that owners continue to use this wording for new contracts. 
If you are asked to agree to a variation of the attached recommended contract (appendix B) we advise you to contact the NNPC to ensure that this variation does not cause the contract to fall outside the scope of cover.

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