The intense oil tanker traffic is a subject of great concern to the Government of the Republic of Cape Verde owing to the high risk of accidental marine pollution to which the country is exposed. It is estimated that three tankers transit along the coast of the archipelago every day, either in ballast or loaded with up to 300,000 tonnes of crude oil, on their way from the South Atlantic and heading for Europe or America.
Marine oil pollution can have very serious economic, ecological and social impacts, which could have disastrous effects on the fragile and vulnerable natural resources along the length of our coastal zone and in the Cape Verde exclusive economic zone.
Conscious of the substantial risk and of the economic and ecological impacts of accidental marine pollution caused by oil spills, has drawn up this National Contingency Plan, considering it necessary to endow itself with procedures, techniques and resources with which to deal with this great threat.
The National Marine Pollution Contingency Plan falls within the framework of the Convention for the protection and conservation of the marine environment and the coastal zone of Western and Central Africa (Abidjan Convention), the UNEP/WG action plan 72/73, and the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, of 1990 (OPRC).
This National Contingency Plan establishes an organizational structure, at national level, capable of taking fast, effective action in critical situations at sea or on the coast following a large spill of oil or other noxious substances, and defines in detail the competences, responsibilities and obligations of the authorities and administrations involved.
Recommended practice is to divide the contingency plan into two parts. The first must be sufficiently general to provide a flexible legal framework for the second part and must clearly define the who, in terms of responsibilities, does what, covering the different strategies to be followed and also where they are carried out. The second part, which will be continuously updated and modified to reflect changes in the situation, in knowledge or new developments, must define how the spill response work must be carried out. This second part, as an operational part of the Plan, will include a set of annexes, subject to changes at variable frequencies, and forming an integral part of the Plan.