Purpose of the PCSOPEP Program:

Effective January 1st, 2005 The Panama Canal Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (PCSOPEP) is a program that seeks to implement emergency preparedness strategies for Panama Canal waters. The PCSOPEP aids the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in minimizing consequences of spills and emergencies by safeguarding life, reducing the impact on the environment, and ensuring the continuous operation of the Canal.

Vessels have the responsibility to comply with the provisions of PCSOPEP and, in the event of a spill, must activate its own plan and notify the ACP, as stated in the Regulation on Navigation in Panama Canal Waters, Chapter IX, Section Four.

Applicability

Commercial Vessels: The provisions in this document apply to toll-paying vessels that transit the Panama Canal with a 400 Metric Ton (MT) or more carrying capacity of oil as cargo and/or fuel….

Panama Canal SOPEP
PCSOPEP program requirements do not apply to:

a. Military Vessels
b. Auxiliary Vessels on government non-commercial service.
c. Local call vessels not scheduled for transit.

Authorized person (A.P.) Duties

  Arranging and Posting on behalf of the vessel a bond acceptable and satisfactory to the ACP for the payment of the costs that the ACP may incur by reason of the oil spill response and cleanup tasks.
  Fluent in English
  Resident in the Republic of Panama
  Understand the vessel’s PCSOPEP
  Authorized Person should have general knowledge and skills or experience in the Incident Command System and emergency preparedness

Plan Elaboration and Requirements

As a minimum, a PCSOPEP must include the following information:

  Vessel particulars
  Oil pollution prevention measures for Panama Canal waters
  Spill notification procedures in a prioritized sequence
  Spill response procedures.
Crew training program for the reaction to shipboard and shore spill incidents.
  Record of exercises.
  Identification of the Authorized Person and telephone and facsimile where they can be reached on a 24-hour basis.
  PCSOPEP Tier classification.

Sanctions:

 Effective October 1, 2007, vessels failing to submit a compliant PCSOPEP at least 96 hours prior to arrival at Canal waters will be classified as non-compliant and will not be given a grace period. Under such classification, the vessel will be scheduled as Tier 3 and will be charged accordingly, as well as for additional resources assigned to the vessel due to this non-compliance.

In addition, the vessel will only be permitable for transit after the ship owners, operators or shipping agent have paid or provided satisfactory guarantees for the payment of the applicable sanction, which will be set at a minimum of $2,500.00. Following arrivals to Panama Canal waters under similar non-compliance conditions will generate increased fines that may result in denial of transit. Ship owners, operators, and masters are encouraged to ensure that their vessels comply with the PCSOPEP requirement and other Panama Canal regulations to avoid this inconvenience.

Panama Canal OPEP

The PCSOPEP can be a standalone document or an annex to an existing SOPEP or SMPEP with adequate cross references. However, neither the SOPEP nor the SMPEP alone can substitute the PCSOPEP. Evidence of approval is in two forms, the Confirmation of Compliance (COC) and the Notice of acknowledgement (NOA). The confirmation of compliance takes place after the PCSOPEP is reviewed by the Canal and found to be in order, at which time the Canal sends an e-mail to the plan writer confirming the said condition. The plan writer will in turn notify the Operator of the vessel. The NOA (Notice of acknowledgement) is accomplished at the time the ship arrives at the Canal and is boarded by the Authorities, and this can happen several months or even years after the PCSOPEP was originally submitted for verification. It is the NOA what establishes the expiration date of the PCSOPEP.

The PCSOPEP expires four years from the date the NOA is delivered to the ship by an ACP boarding officer. Vessels shall provide, where applicable, the following documents to the ACP for verification:

• A copy of the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPP).
• A copy of the Panama Canal Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (PCSOPEP), prepared specifically for the vessel.

Additionally, a copy of the Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP), Annex I, MARPOL, or a copy of the Shipboard Marine Pollution Emergency Plan (SMPEP), Annex II, MARPOL, must be available upon request. A PCSOPEP shall include the following information, as a minimum:

• Oil pollution prevention measures for Panama Canal waters
• Spill notification procedures in a prioritized sequence
• Spill response procedures
• Crew training program for the reaction to shipboard and shore spill incidents
• Record of exercises
• Identification of the Authorized Person and telephone and facsimile where they can be reached on a 24-hour basis.

If the PCSOPEP is prepared as an appendix to an existing SOPEP or SMPEP, the complete copy of the SOPEP or SMPEP shall be submitted in order for the PCSOPEP to be verified.

We are your “Authorized Person” to represent your good vessel before the Panama Canal.

 

Email:                   ops@adimarships.com

Office Phone:     +507-265-3053

Office Fax:           +507-265-3054

Tugboat and a Ship Panama Canal

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