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Shipping, Pipelines and the Oil Industry – Role of the SOSREP. Hugh Shaw The Secretary of State’s Representative. Highlands & Islands Strategic Coordinating Group in association with Orkney Islands Council August 31, 2010. The Way It Used To Be. March 1967 TORREY CANYON

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shipping pipelines and the oil industry role of the sosrep

Shipping, Pipelines and the Oil Industry – Role of the SOSREP

Hugh Shaw

The Secretary of State’s Representative

Highlands & Islands Strategic Coordinating Group in association with Orkney Islands Council

August 31, 2010


The Way It Used To Be

March 1967


97,000 tonnes spilled

February 1996


72,000 tonnes spilled

January 1993


86,300 tonnes spilled


Lord Donaldson’s Review

  • The ‘Trigger’ point is when there is “a threat of significant pollution” to the UK’s pollution control zone, territorial waters or coastline;
  • Response to the threat of pollution from or involving an offshore installation to be compatible with same from shipping casualty
lord donaldson s review
Lord Donaldson’s Review
  • MCA as a whole should play a much larger part in operations in response to a threat of significant pollution than has been the case in the past ;

4. Involvement of Ministers in Operational decisions is not a practicable option……

lord donaldson s review1
Lord Donaldson’s Review

There should be ‘ultimate’ control of salvage by a Secretary of State’s Representative acting in the overriding public interest


extract from recommendations
Extract from Recommendations
  • R3. Intervention Powers

NCP amended to make it clear that SOSREP has the decisive voice in the decision-making process in a marine salvage operation involving the threat of significant pollution. [MSA 2003 adds risk to safety].

By not issuing a direction the SOSREP is adopting and approving the proposed course of action proposed by those dealing with the incident.

role of the sosrep
Role of the SOSREP

To represent the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for the Department for Energy and Climate Change by removing or reducing the risk to persons, property and the UK environment arising from accidents involving ships, fixed or floating platforms or sub-sea infrastructure within UK waters, within the remainder of the UK Pollution Control Zone (UK PCZ) and on the UK Continental Shelf.[2003]

the sosrep function
The SOSREP Function
  • One personto act as representative of Secretary of State (s)
  • Free to act without recourse to higher authority
  • Ultimate & Decisive voice
  • Can exercise Ultimate control
  • Cannot choose to ignore a situation
  • Tacitly approves all actions
  • Whilst operations are in progress “Must be “Backed or sacked”
mca ce sosrep donaldson 1999
MCA CE & SOSREP [Donaldson 1999]
  • MCA CE & Minister(s) must not interfere or give appearance of being in charge.
  • SOSREP may be called upon to make extremely difficult and potentially controversial decisions and he will be unable to make these dispassionately if he is looking over his shoulder and guarding his back
intervention powers
Intervention Powers
  • Merchant Shipping Act 1995
  • Amended by the Merchant Shipping & Maritime Security Act 1997
  • Marine Safety Act 2003
  • Dangerous Vessels Act 1985
  • The Offshore Installations [EPC] Regulations 2002
uk pollution control zone
UK Pollution Control Zone
  • Extends to 200 nautical miles from the coastline or to the nearest median line with neighbouring coastal states
  • Continental Shelf for Oil & Gas
sosrep resilience team
SOSREP Resilience Team
  • Deputy to the SOSREP – Jim Dickson, DECC
  • MCA Director Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • MCA Director West England & Wales
  • SOSREP Support Officer – MCA HQ
sosrep responsibilities
SOSREP Responsibilities
  • Monitor incident where is / or potential for risk to safety and/or risk of significant pollution
  • Ensure all actions taken or being proposed are in interest of UK PLC
  • Approve salvage plans/methodology where applicable & sign completion notice
  • Offer support to Gold Command for CT incidents
  • Intervene where necessary
  • Establish OCU / SCU if required
operations control unit
Operations Control Unit
  • Monitor operations & approve salvage plan
  • Provide a forum for discussion between parties with interests
  • Link to SCG / Resilience Forums via MCA
  • It is NOT a committee
operations control unit core membership
Operations Control Unit Core Membership
  • SOSREP Assistant
  • Emergency Operations Manager
  • Operators Representative
  • DECC Strategic Advisor
  • Environment Group Liaison Officer
  • SOSREP Specialist Advisor (s)
  • MCA Counter Pollution & Salvage Officer
  • MCA Coastguard Liaison Officer
oil spill prevention and response advisory group osprag
Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group [OSPRAG]
  • The purpose of OSPRAG is to review the sector’s offshore drilling practices in the UK continental shelf (UKCS) in light of the events in the Gulf of Mexico and assess the industry’s readiness to respond to a major event in this country.
  • It is an ongoing process and you can find the most up-to-date information about its progress at
thank you
Thank You

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