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: