International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC, 1990)
Pollution of waters has always been a major concern for people and governments, and national and international action and cooperation of States would be required for combating it. Destruction of marine systems and surface waters has led to irreparable damages to the environment. Due to excessive utilization of the seas, and variety and frequency of discharge of wastes in the water, marine ecosystems have lost a major part of their self-cleaning capacity and are hardly able to neutralize the mentioned unpleasant effects.
Flowing waters and the industries built along the coasts cause a sizable part of the marine pollution, while pollution's related to seabed excavations, marine transportation (shipping), natural oil leakage, meteorological phenomena, direct contact of water with air and intentional discharge into the sea are the other sources of pollution.
Marine transportation, including ports (commercial ports, oil terminals, repair docks, fishing wharves, etc.) and ships produce wastes that can be considered as potential sources of marine pollution. Collecting, recycling, cleaning, processing and disposing of these wastes will have significant influence on decreasing marine pollution from ships.
The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC) was prepared in the wake of the Exxon Valdez incident near Alaska, was approved by the IMO in 1990, and entered into force in 1995. The Convention mainly emphasizes effective and expeditious measures in case of oil pollution incidents with the aim of preventing irreparable damages to ships, marine facilities, ports, oil loading and unloading facilities, as well as paving the way for international cooperation regarding prevention of incidents from oil pollution. The bill for the ratification of the Convention by the I.R. of Iran was approved by the Iranian Parliament on 20 Sep. 1376, and having gone through the legal procedures, entered into force for Iran on 25 Aug. 1998.
The Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) is the National Administration for implementing this Convention.
Operational Helicopter Flights for Aerial Monitoring of Oil Spills
The first operational flight was conducted by a Bell AB-212 helicopter in December 2010 in order to aerially monitor oil spills near Khark Island and Aboozar Oil Field (Northern Persian Gulf). Since then, aerial safety-environmental patrols have been regularly conducted in Iranian waters using Bell helicopters.
The first operational flight above was conducted with the following details:
- The flight lasted for 2.5 hours;
- An area of around 6,000 square kilometers was covered;
- A party of seven officials from the PMO Deputy Managing Director's Office for Maritime Affairs was transferred from Bushehr to Khark Island;
- During aerial patrol from Khark Island to Aboozar Oil Field, two delegates from Bushehr and Khark Island Ports were on board, and guided the aerial operation;
- Aerial patrol over Khark and Aboozar Oil Fields identified crude oil spills from installations belonging to Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC), which were recorded (video and photo).
Aerially monitor oil spills near Khark Island and Aboozar Oil Field