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 Marine HNS Response Manual Multi Regional REMPEC, HELCOM and the Bonn Agreement.

This manual prepared 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 developed the Marine HNS Response Manual Multi-Regional Bonn Agreement, HELCOM, REMPEC has been 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 have been 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. 

The result is a comprehensive operational guidance for first responders and decision makers on marine incidents involving HNS, for both preparedness and response phases and includes exclusive information on new, empirically tested chemicals. 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 Multi-Regional Manual includes specific annexes for the Mediterranean, Baltic and Greater North Sea and its approaches. It has already been approved by the HELCOM Heads of Delegation (HOD 59-2020) and subsequently adopted, replacing the HELCOM Response Manual Volume 2, by the 42nd Meeting of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM 42-2021) in March 2021.

Download the full Marine HNS Response Manual Multi-Regional Bonn Agreement, HELCOM, REMPEC in English

Cover page.png


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)



REMPEC’s Maritime Integrated Decision Support Information System Transport of Chemical Substances MIDSIS TROCS is a free and publicly available tool that aims to facilitate decision making in case of Chemical spill. It provides a tool to first responders primarily for their safety and to take well informed decision, through access to decisions trees features with concise information and action sheets, as well as updated information on chemical characteristics and reactivity, GESAMP Profiles, shoreline and at sea response guides, and more.

Under the West MOPoCo project, MIDSIS TROCS 3.0 was upgraded to 4.0, involving:  

  • The integration of databases and information from other projects, for instance the HNS-MS project.
  • The update of the chemical database and relevant emergency guides in cooperation with IMO, REMPEC, Cedre, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and Transport Canada.
  • The update of the accident database.
  • The integration of the “Multi regional HNS Response Manual” in the upgraded decision support trees feature.
  • The development of a stand-alone application of MIDSIS-TROCS 4.0 both on workstations (laptop, computer) and mobile phones, tablet (App) to satisfy the needs of operational personnel, who would require information onsite without access to internet.


Relevant project activities

  • Activity 3.2 MIDSIS TROCS update and upgrade


Useful links

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