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Panama Canal Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (PCSOPEP) All vessels approaching Canal waters for transit must submit a Panama Canal Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (PCSOPEP) at least 96 hours prior to its arrival. This requirement, which became effective January 1, 2005, is applicable to vessels with fuel and/or oil cargo-carrying capacity of 400 MT or more. The carrying capacity of a vessel is equal to the sum of the capacities of all oil cargo tanks and fuel tanks. A vessel that meets this criterion shall submit their PCSOPEP to the ACP for verification, and shall be classified according to the following categories:

• Tier S for vessels with an oil carrying capacity of 400 MT up to 1,000 MT.
• Tier 1 for vessels with an oil carrying capacity of more than 1,000 MT up to 7,000 MT.
• Tier 1 and Tier 2 for vessels with an oil carrying capacity of more than 7,000 MT up to 15,000 MT.
• Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 for vessels with an oil carrying capacity of more than 15,000 MT.

Non-compliance with the above constitutes a violation of Chapter IX, Section Four of the Maritime Regulations for the Operation of the Panama Canal , and may subject the vessel to sanctions in accordance with Chapter XI, Offenses, Sanctions and Sanctioning Proceedings of said Regulations.

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 no longer be granted a grace period. Under such condition, 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 programmed 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. Subsequent arrivals to Panama Canal waters under similar non-compliance conditions will generate increased sanctions 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.

The PCSOPEP can be a stand alone 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, either 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.

u PCSOPEP Regulations

PCSOPEPs shall be developed by organizations or individuals experienced in pollution Prevention.

Through an arrangement with ECM MARITIME SERVICES LLC our company provides coverage of Authorized Persons to respond to Oil spill emergencies at the Panama Canal . ECM is a leader in the Maritime Industry areas of Crisis Management, Regulatory compliance and Security Services and is the plan writer that we recommend to our group of Customers. The contact information for ECM is provided below:


1 Selleck Street
5th Floor - Suite 511 
Norwalk. CT 06855 

Tel: +1-203-857-0444
e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Web: www.ecmmaritime.com



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