Enhancing emergency decision-making capabilities

Enhancing emergency decision-making capabilities

The successful response to marine pollution is linked to the quality and the promptness of the decision-making process. Decision-making can be significantly accelerated and simplified using adequate decision support tools and guidelines.

Countries of the Baltic, the Greater North Sea and its approaches and the Mediterranean Region, through their respective decision bodies, have expressed the need for revised tools, including a Joint HNS Response Manual between REMPEC, HELCOM and the Bonn Agreement.

This manual prepares the basis for the update and upgrade of the Maritime Integrated Decision Support Information System (MIDSIS-TROCS) and will have a significant impact at the Mediterranean, European and International level on the execution of safe response operations to Oil and chemical spills carried out by the relevant competent authorities

The Joint Inter-Regional HNS Response Manual

Several systems and guidelines exist to prepare and respond effectively to Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS) spills in the marine environment. The three Secretariat of the Regional Seas Conventions  bordering the European Union, REMPEC as an activity centre of the Barcelona Convention in the Mediterranean, the Helsinki Commission in the Baltic and the Bonn Agreement in the North Sea expressed the need to update the guidelines and manuals related to HNS spill response produced at different Regional Seas (Mediterranean Sea, Baltic Sea and North Sea) during the Thirteenth Inter-Secretariat Meeting between Regional Agreement Secretariats, DG ECHO and EMSA (Lisbon, Portugal, 16 February 2017).

With the financial support of DG ECHO, Cedre, ISPRA and ITOPF are developing a Joint inter-regional HNS Response Manual that will provide support for the safe execution of response operations to chemical spills, in the Mediterranean, Baltic and North Sea. Such an operational manual will serve as a useful tool, especially for countries planning to build a national framework that would provide a foundation for the ratification process of the Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Co-operation to pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances (OPRC-HNS Protocol).

The Joint inter-regional HNS Response Manual is developed in close cooperation between expert institutions partners in West MOPoCo, as well as between member countries of the three regional seas conventions. The latter are involved throughout the manual elaboration process by being presented with drafts for approval at each Secretariat’s Meeting of the Focal Points or corresponding Working Groups (REMPEC June 2019, HELCOM February 2020, OTSOPA Spring 2020).

Cedre presented the main outcomes of the Joint Inter-Regional HNS Response Manual drafting process by Cedre, ISPRA and ITOPF during MEDEXPOL 2020. Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention, HELCOM and Bonn Agreement are invited to approve version 4 of the document, before its desktop publishing in December 2020 and final review and testing in spring 2021. The Manual will be publicly available on the project website by the end of March 2021, for adoption by the regional secretariats and contracting parties during Spring/Summer 2021.

More info: MEDEXPOL 2020-WG.47/3 - Marine HNS Response Manual Multi-Regional Rempec, Helcom, Bonn Agreement Consultation Process and way forward


Relevant project activities

  • Activity 3.1 Inter-regional HNS Response Manual


Related news

Useful links

Updating and upgrading the Maritime Integrated Decision Support Information System (MIDSIS TROCS)


The Inter-regional HNS Response Manual will lead to the review of the existing Practical Guide for Marine Chemical Spills and therefore will require the update and upgrade of the Maritime Integrated Decision Support Information System MIDSIS TROCS 3.0, based on the Practical Guide for Marine Chemical Spills. The work will be conducted in four phases:

  • a desk work leading to technical overview of the Practical Guide for Marine Chemical Spills;
  • according to the comments and approvals of the said technical overview, the update and upgrade of MIDSIS-TROCS 3.0 to MIDSIS-TROCS 4.0 will be carried out;
  • the revised tools will be tested by Cedre, ISPRA and ITOPF as well as other Project co-beneficiaries before finalization.


Relevant project activities

  • Activity 3.2 MIDSIS TROCS update and upgrade


Useful links

Access to the MIDSIS TROCS: http://midsis.rempec.org/