London - The latest sub-regional contingency plan to deal with any oil pollution incident in the Mediterranean Sea has been signed, following support from the IMO-administered Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC). An Implementation Agreement on the Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan was signed in Nicosia, Cyprus (8 May) by Cyprus, Greece, and Israel, along with other instruments for cooperation among the three countries. The objective of the contingency plan is an effective reaction to spills. It also aims to facilitate the co-operation among the three countries in the field of oil pollution preparedness and response. The Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan was prepared with support from REMPEC, which facilitated various meetings between the countries in order to draft the plan. REMPEC also supported the organization of a marine oil pollution table-top exercise for the participating States, in October 2017. During the exercise, in Haifa, Israel, officials were able to test the initial phases of the activation of the plan in a scenario which simulated a marine oil pollution incident.
REMPEC, which provides round-the-clock support in case of an marine pollution incident in the Mediterranean, provided a chief controller to participate in the exercise. The Sub-Regional Marine Oil Pollution Contingency Plan between Cyprus, Greece, and Israel is the sixth to be developed in the Mediterranean region, out of which three were also developed with the support of REMPEC, Sub-regional Contingency Plan for Preparedness and Response to Major Marine Pollution Incidents in the Mediterranean (Cyprus, Egypt, Israel; 1995); Sub-regional Contingency Plan for Preparedness for and Response to Accidental Marine Pollution in the south-western area of the Mediterranean (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia; 2005); and Sub-regional Contingency Plan for Prevention of, Preparedness for and Response to Major Marine Pollution Incidents in the Adriatic Sea (Croatia, Italy, Slovenia; 2005). The two other are: RAMOGEPOL Plan (France, Italy, Monaco 1993/2005); and LION PLAN/PLAN LEON (France, Spain; 2001). IMO administers REMPEC, based in Malta, under the Protocol to the Barcelona Convention Concerning Co-operation in Preventing Pollution from Ships and, in Cases of Emergency, Combating Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea, 2002.