Stricter oil spill response planning proposed for sensitive regions along the Californian coast

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) has been issued by the California Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response. The proposals increase the level of planning and contingency required to manage spills in sensitive regions along the Californian coast and so increase the level of preparedness required from Oil Spill Response Organisations (OSROs).


A main element in the new proposal is the harmonised identification of sensitive coastal areas, defined in Shoreline Protection (SP) Tables. Whereas assessment of the sensitivity of vessel transit regions was previously left to individual plan holders, the SP Tables developed by the State have harmonised the assessment to avoid any variations in ratings between plan holders when assessing the same area. The SP Tables provide guidance as to the response time in which oil spill equipment should be deployed following a spill.


This element may therefore stretch current resources for OSROs in the region and require further equipment, boats and staff. Tank vessel owners will have to ensure that sufficient cover is provided by their OSRO in the regions in which the vessel is transiting, based on the new SP Tables.


Further information on the proposals can be gained from the Office of Oil Spill Response website:


Please inform Tim Wilkins of any concerns regarding the proposals.


Contact: Tim Wilkins or Joe Angelo