Environment And Climate Affairs:

The Sultanate has signed several International conventions regulating shipment traffic and related to the safety of Omani territorial seas against pollution. The most important convention was MARPOL (73/78) which prevents sea pollution from ships. in order to implement this convention, the ministry with cooperation of regional organization for the protection of marine environment started to setup and implement the regional plans for reception facilities project which will force all ships transiting the Sultanate territorial sea to avoid discharging ballast water at sea, and legal actions will be taken against any ship failed to do so. The sultanate is making every effort to establish facilities to receive the ballast waters within the vital ports. Due to the active navigational movements in Arabian Gulf and Sea Of Oman, the sultanate government started to implement the international   regulations and rules in order to preserve the maritime environment and its natural resources by forcing all transiting ships to comply with the environmental regulations, which includes the International classification known as private zone (from Dhalkoot at the governorate of Dhofar to Ras al Had). Due to strategic location of the Sultanate as export crossing of huge quantity of oil and that the oil tankers might be vulnerable for accidents which cause significant damages to marine environment; a special plan to control oil pollution has been set forth. This plan includes the response procedures to counter oil leakage accidents within the private zone of the Sultanate.

Oil Pollution. Sea pollution is any quantitative or qualitative changes in the physical or chemical components which become over the capacity of seas. This pollution causes damages to the human being and natural resources.
Marine Environment- Oil Pollution Sources.
 There are different sources of oil pollution and the most important sources are:
  • Accidents at sea such as; ships collision with coral reefs or with other ships or groundings.
  • Oil leakage during loading and discharge.
  • Fire on board tankers at sea.
  • Crude oil leakage because of ships hulls corrosion.
  • Discharge of storage tanks flushing in the sea.
  • Discharge of ballast water polluted with Petroleum substances at sea, as after discharge process, the tanker refilled 60% of its size to maintain stability at sea during return journey to the exporting port.
  •  Petroleum leakage from oil tankers due to accidents resulted from off shore oil wells.
Types of Oil Pollution Affecting Marine Environment:
  • Oil pollution affecting fishing will result in reduction of fisheries products.
  • Phytoplankton are the main factor for energy stabilization at marine environment (The process of photosynthesis). These Phytoplankton are the first phase of sea food chain feeding the sea creature directly/indirectly. Modern studies shown measurement of crude oil concentration which causes creatures death or prevention of cell division on several types of phytoplankton and found that concentration which leads to death is between 10000,0 - 1.0 ml / Ltr, while oil pollution is less affect on other creatures  due to its ability to  regrowth after a period of time.
  • Affects on molluscs (shells) - when oil leakage happens and reach coastal area, a huge number of molluscs (shells) died.
  • Affects on crustaceans- oil pollution does not affect directly on a group of crustaceans such as; (shrimp and crabs) so it is different from  Phytoplankton because crustaceans has ability to move, and this make these creatures able to avoid high concentration of oil, except larvae and eggs.
  • Affects on coral reefs, mangroves, turtles and others.  Echinoderms and sea cucumber are most sensitive creatures and affected by leaking oil and other sort of pollutions. It is noticed that such creatures disappear and extinct once exposure to oil pollutions.
  • - Birds are the most marine groups affected by oil pollution. The extinction of many types of them from the environment has been observed due to the exposure to pollution hazard for a long time.
  • Affects on drinking water projects- oil and oil residue are the most problems counter authorities concerned in  desalination plants within the Arabian Gulf Countries, as well as, oil slicks caused by oil leakage which may affects the quality of desalinated drinking water.
  • affects on navigation services and beauty and cleanliness of beaches- oil pollution paralyzes navigation traffic in which negatively affect on the aesthetics of beaches and it deprives beachgoers to enjoy the tourism and entertainment aspects in such areas.