Council Resolution of 26 June 1978 setting up an action programme of the European Communities on the control and reduction of pollution caused by hydrocarbons discharged at sea
OJ C 162, 8.7.1978, p. 1–4 (DA, DE, EN, FR, IT, NL)
Spanish special edition: Chapter 15 Volume 2 P. 105 - 108
Portuguese special edition: Chapter 15 Volume 2 P. 105 - 108
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COUNCIL RESOLUTION of 26 June 1978 setting up an action programme of the European Communities on the control and reduction of pollution caused by hydrocarbons discharged at sea
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES,
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community,
Having regard to the draft from the Commission,
Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament (1),
Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee (2),
Whereas, at its meeting in Copenhagen on 7 and 8 April 1978, the European Council took the view that the Community should make the prevention and control of marine pollution, in particular by hydrocarbons, an important objective of its action;
Whereas the European Communities' Action Programmes on the Environment (3) stressed the paramount importance to Western Europe that effective action be taken against the dangers inherent in the carriage of hydrocarbons, including the threat of serious pollution of coastal areas from accidents on the high seas and specified that the protection of marine waters to ensure that ecological balances are preserved is a priority task;
Whereas the authorities of the Member States the responsibility of which it is to take action in the event of pollution of the sea by hydrocarbons must have very prompt access to information on the human and material resources which can be deployed for the control of such pollution;
Whereas, in order quickly to counteract or even to prevent accidental pollution by hydrocarbons, these authorities must be able to ascertain particulars of the features of the vessels and offshore structures liable to cause such pollution and must be informed of any violations which may have been committed by vessels in the territorial waters of the Member States;
Whereas these authorities must be able to call on the assistance, at very short notice, of specialists who are fully and suitably trained in the control of marine pollution by hydrocarbons whereas the equipment used for this purpose must be immediately available for use;
Whereas it is necessary to study the details of a possible Community contribution to work relating to the design and development of clean-up vessels, in view of its high cost;
Whereas the legal provisions on insurance against the risks of accidental pollution by hydrocarbons must guarantee adequate compensation for the victims of such pollution;
(1) Opinion delivered on 13 June 1978 (not yet published in the Official Journal). (2) Opinion delivered on 13 June 1978 (not yet published in the Official Journal). (3) OJ No C 112, 20.12.1973, p. 1 and OJ No C 139, 13.6.1977, p. 1. Whereas research should be carried out to improve mechanical and chemical methods of treating hydrocarbons discharged at sea and to further knowledge regarding the subsequent history of such hydrocarbons and their effects on marine flora and fauna;
Whereas the action to be taken pursuant to this resolution may in no event exempt operators from their liability under civil or criminal law;
Whereas the Commission must have at its disposal the resources to prepare the detailed proposals provided for in the programme annexed hereto;
Whereas there are already international agreements dealing with measures for control of pollution from hydrocarbons to which Member States are party and there is a need to complement such agreements while avoiding duplication;
Approves the broad lines of approach laid down in the action programme contained in the Annex;
Notes that the Commission will undertake the studies before submitting appropriate proposals as soon as possible for the implementation of this programme;
Undertakes to take a decision on these proposals within nine months from the date of their submission by the Commission or, as the case may be, of the date of forwarding of the opinions of the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee;
Calls on the Member States to provide the Commission, at its request and on a case by case basis, with all the information needed to apply this resolution.
ANNEX Action programme of the European Communities on the control and reduction of pollution caused by hydrocarbons discharged at sea
The Commission will undertake the preliminary studies to identify what gaps need to be filled in the current framework of measures to control and reduce pollution caused by hydrocarbons discharged at sea and to propose appropriate action, at Community level and, if necessary, within the framework of international organizations or agreements. In the light of these studies, the Commission will place appropriate proposals before the Council as soon as possible. These studies will cover the following fields: 1. Computer processing of the existing data, or data still to be collected, on ways of dealing with marine pollution by hydrocarbons with a view to the immediate use of such data in the event of accidental pollution
The study undertaken by the Commission will relate to any steps which might need to be taken so as to ensure that Member States, and if necessary interested third countries, have complete, rapid and reliable information on ways of dealing with marine pollution by hydrocarbons. The information studied will include in particular: - the team of qualified personnel to combat marine pollution by hydrocarbons, the specific qualifications of such teams and practical particulars of how such teams can be called in;
- the availability of products and equipment for the chemical treatment of hydrocarbons (dispersants, precipitating agents, aerator-agitators and dispersant spreading equipment);
- availability of equipment for the mechanical treatment of hydrocarbons and the specifications of the ships and equipment from which these operations can be carried out (speed and stability of vessels, equipment fitted) and their location;
- availability of the required coastline-protection resources (oil slick containment equipment, oil absorbants or precipitating agents, gels enabling dispersants to be used on rocks or structures, aerator-agitator and recovery equipment for use in shallow waters and beach-cleaning equipment).
This study will consider in particular the conditions under which the collection and computer processing of this information, which should be constantly updated, can be achieved at minimum cost and avoiding any duplication. Possibilities existing already both at national level and within the framework of existing international agreements will need to be fully explored.
2. Study of the availability for the Member States of relevant data on tankers liable to pollute the waters around the Community and the coasts of the Member States and on off-shore structures under the jurisdiction of the Member States
The study undertaken by the Commission would be aimed at: (a) investigating to what extent Member States may as of now have rapidly available complete and reliable information relating to: - the structural features of the tankers and offshore structures in question and emergency plans for prompt intervention,
- any infringements committed in the territorial waters.
(b) investigating, if necessary, the means of making this information more readily available.
3. Study of the need for measures to enhance the cooperation and effectiveness of the emergency teams which have been or which are to be set up in the Member States
Effective pollution control implies the existence of fully and suitably trained specialist groups supplied with equipment which is easy to use and immediately available if required.
The Commission will study the need to improve cooperation between States on a multinational and, if necessary, Community basis. The study will deal in particular with training methods, the compatibility of the various material and equipment used and training programmes. The Commission will, if appropriate, put to the Council proposals to harmonize the technical features of the various equipment used.
4. Study of a possible Community contribution to the design and development of clean-up vessels to which may be fitted the equipment needed for the effective treatment of discharged hydrocarbons
The treatment of discharged hydrocarbons requires the deployment of a range of equipment to be used as circumstances dictate. It has been suggested that all this equipment be assembled on clean-up vessels fast enough to carry it promptly to the site of an emergency. However, design and development costs of such vessels seem to be substantial. The Commission will study the merits of such an operation, the financial problems posed and the possibilities open to the Community for contributing to a solution of such problems, for example through investment premiums or interest-relief grants.
5. Study of the amendments and improvements which may have to be made to the legal rules on insurance against the risks of accidental pollution from hydrocarbons
In the case of accidents giving rise to serious pollution, the Commission will study the steps necessary to ensure a more efficient application of the "polluter pays" principle whereby any natural or legal person governed by public or private law who is responsible for an act of pollution must pay the cost of measures to prevent or control such pollution, in accordance with the Commission's communication to the Council annexed to the Council recommendation 75/436/Euratom, ECSC, EEC of 3 March 1975 regarding cost allocation and action by public authorities on environmental matters (1).
It will be particularly necessary to study the steps taken so that compensation covers the total damage suffered as a result of accidental pollution.
6. Establishment of a proposal for a research programme on chemical and mechanical means of combating pollution due to hydrocarbons discharged at sea, on the subsequent history of such hydrocarbons and on their effect on marine flora and fauna
The Commission will undertake a study of the research programmes under way at national and international level on the themes noted above. It will submit to the Council appropriate proposals with a view to completing the Community programme of environmental research on this point.
(1) OJ No L 194, 25.7.1975, p. 1.