Volume(s) 1-3; pages 2254-2258



Agreement on Regional Co-operation in Combating Pollution of the South-East Pacific by Hydrocarbons or Other Harmful Substances in Cases of Emergency, Lima, 1981


Done at Lima 12 November 1981

*( This Agreement is not in force for the United States.>

Depositary: Permanent Commission for the South Pacific

Primary source citation: Copy of text provided by the United Nations Environment Program



The High Contracting Parties,

Recognizing that pollution of the sea by hydrocarbons or other harmful substances in the South-East Pacific constitutes a danger to the coastal States and the marine ecosystem,

Considering that the co-operation of all coastal States is necessary in order to combat such pollution,

Have agreed on the following:

Article I

The High Contracting Parties hereby agree to co-operate in taking the necessary measures to neutralize or control harmful effects in cases which they consider constitute a serious and imminent danger to the marine environment, the coast or related interests of one or more of them caused by the presence of massive quantities of hydrocarbons or other harmful substances resulting from emergency situations and polluting or threatening to pollute the maritime area specified in the following article.

Article II

The sphere of application of this Agreement shall be the area of the South-East Pacific within the 200-mile maritime area of sovereignty and jurisdiction of the High Contracting Parties and, beyond that area, in the high seas up to a distance within which discharged pollutants constitute a danger, as referred to in article I, to the waters of the aforesaid area.

Article III

For the purposes of this Agreement, the term ‘related interests’ shall mean the interests of a coastal State directly affected or threatened and, in particular, the following:


The quality of life and health of coastal populations;


The conservation of living resources;


Activities in coastal waters, islands, ports and estuaries, including fishing activities; and


The historical and touristic heritage of the area concerned, including sporting and recreational activities.

Article IV

The High Contracting Parties shall endeavour to promote and establish contingency plans and programmes aimed at combating marine pollution by hydrocarbons or other harmful substances, and to maintain and increase the resources necessary for those purposes, through bilateral or multilateral co-operation and the individual actions of each State. Such resources shall include, inter alia, equipment, ships, aircraft and trained manpower for emergency operations.

Article V

The High Contracting Parties shall carry out, either individually or through bilateral or multilateral co-operation, monitoring activities covering the South-East Pacific with the aim of obtaining accurate and timely information in emergency situations referred to in article I of this agreement.

Article VI

If harmful substances in containers, portable tanks or tank-vehicles, such as trucks or railway wagons, are thrown or lost overboard, the High Contracting Parties shall co-operate, to the extent of their capabilities, in salvaging and recovering such substances, with the aim of reducing the danger of pollution of the marine environment.

Article VII

The High Contracting Parties undertake to exchange information on the following:


The competent national organization or authorities responsible for combating marine pollution;


The competent national authorities and bodies responsible for receiving information on marine pollution and for carrying out assistance programmes or measures for the benefit of the parties; and


Research programmes which they are conducting in order to develop new methods and techniques for preventing marine pollution as well as the results of such programmes.

Article VIII

The High Contracting Parties undertake to co-ordinate the use of the available communication media in order to ensure the timely reception, transmission and dissemination of all information on emergency situations referred to in article I.

Article IX

The High Contracting Parties shall issue instructions to the masters of ships flying their flag and the commanders or pilots of aircraft registered in their territory to report the following by the most expeditious means and in accordance with the guidelines contained in the annex to this Agreement:

(a) The presence, characteristics and extent of oil slicks and other harmful substances observed in the sea which may constitute an imminent threat to the marine environment or related interests of one or more of the Contracting Parties; and

(b) Any other emergency which causes or threatens to cause pollution of the marine environment.

Information collected in accordance with the first paragraph of this article shall immediately be communicated to the Contracting Parties which may be affected by the danger of pollution.

Article X

High Contracting Parties faced with an emergency situation as defined in article I of this Agreement shall take the following measures:

(a) They shall assess the nature and extent of the emergency and, as the case may be, the type and approximate quantity of hydrocarbons or other pollutants, including the direction and the speed of drift of the spillage;

(b) They shall adopt all appropriate measures to avoid or reduce the effects of the pollution;

(c) They shall immediately report upon the activities referred to in the preceding sub-paragraphs and any other action which they are undertaking or intend to undertake in order to combat the pollution; and

(d) They shall observe the emergency situation for as long as it lasts, any changes that may occur and, in general, the development of the pollution. The information obtained from such observation shall be communicated to the High Contracting Parties in the manner provided for in the preceding article.

Article XI

High Contracting Parties requiring assistance in combating pollution in cases of emergency as referred to in article I may request the co-operation of the other Parties, especially those which may be affected by the pollution.

Such co-operation may include expert advice and the provision of equipment and materials necessary to combat the pollution.

The High Contracting Parties to which a request has been addressed shall, as soon as possible, consider the request in the light of their capabilities and shall immediately inform the requesting Party of the form, extent and conditions of the co-operation they are able to provide.

Article XII

The High Contracting Parties shall hold ordinary sessions at least every two years and extraordinary sessions at any time whenever two or more of them so request.

The ordinary sessions shall be held at the same time as those of the Coordinating Commission for Scientific Research of the Permanent Commission of the South Pacific, or its Legal Commission.

At ordinary sessions, the High Contracting Parties shall examine, inter alia, the following points:

(a) The extent to which this Agreement is being implemented, the effectiveness of the measures taken and the need to develop other kinds of activities;

(b) The advisability of amending or revising the annex to this Agreement, and of modifying or expanding any resolutions adopted in pursuance thereof; and

(c) The performance of any other function which may assist in achieving the purposes of this Agreement.

Article XIII

For the purposes of the administration and application of this Agreement, the High Contracting Parties hereby designate the Permanent Commission of the South Pacific as Executive Secretariat of the Agreement. At their first meeting the Parties shall establish the procedure and financing for the performance of this function.

Article XIV

This Agreement shall enter into force sixty days after the third instrument of ratification has been deposited with the General Secretariat of the Permanent Commission of the South Pacific.

Article XV

This Agreement may be denounced by any of the High Contracting Parties after it has been in force for two years for the High Contracting Party denouncing it.

Such denunciation shall be effected by means of written notification to the Executive Secretariat, which shall communicate it forthwith to the High Contracting Parties.

The denunciation shall take effect one hundred and eighty days after the date of such notification.

Article XVI

This Agreement may be amended only with the unanimous agreement of the High Contracting Parties. Amendments shall be subject to ratification and shall enter into force once the third instrument of ratification has been deposited with the Executive Secretariat.

Article XVII

This Agreement shall be open for accession by any State bordering the South-East Pacific.

Accession shall be effected by the deposit of the relevant instrument with the Executive Secretariat, which shall communicate it to the High Contracting Parties.

This Agreement shall enter into force for the State acceding to it sixty days after the deposit of the relevant instrument.

Article XVIII

No reservations concerning this Agreement may be entered.

DONE in six identical copies, one of which shall be deposited with the General Secretariat of the Permanent Commission of the South Pacific, all being equally authentic for the purposes of implementation and interpretation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized by their respective Governments, have signed this Agreement in the city of Lima, on the twelfth day of November, one thousand nine hundred and eighty-one.

ANNEX Content of the report to be drafted pursuant to article IX of the Agreement


Each report shall, if possible, contain the following:


Identification of the source of pollution, identity of the ship, where appropriate;


The geographical position, time and date of the incident or sighting;


The wind and sea conditions prevailing in the area;


If the pollution has been caused by a ship, relevant details concerning the state of that ship;


A clear indication or description of the harmful substances involved, including their correct technical names. Trade names shall not be used in place of such technical names;


An accurate or estimated indication of the quantities, concentration and likely condition of the harmful substances discharged or likely to be discharged into the sea;


A description of the packaging and identification marks;


The name of the consignor, consignee or manufacturer; and


Such other information as the reporting officer may consider relevant.


Each report shall, as far as possible, indicate clearly whether the harmful substance discharged or likely to be discharged is a hydrocarbon or a harmful liquid, solid or gaseous substance, and whether the substance was or is carried in bulk or contained in packaging, portable tanks, tank-vehicles or tank-wagons.


Any person referred to in ARTICLE IX of this Agreement shall, as far as possible:


Include in the initial report data concerning the development of the situation; and


Comply with such requests for additional information as may be made by the States affected.