Marine HNS Response Manual

Enhancing emergency decision-making capabilities

Marine HNS Response Manual Multi-Regional Bonn Agreement, HELCOM, REMPEC

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, in close consultation with 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. 

Cover page.png


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.



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 West MOPoCo HNS Manual contributes to the wealth of systems and guidelines to prepare and respond effectively to Hazardous and Noxious Substances developed during past, current or future projects funded by DG ECHO, e.g. : 

Relevant project activities

  • Activity 3.1 Inter-regional HNS Response Manual


Related news

Useful links