President urges signing of oil pollution convention
PARLIAMENT has been asked to allow the government to sign up to an international system of combating oil spills and maritime pollution.
On September 16, MPs were invited to debate a request from President U Htin Kyaw to sign the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC).
The request comes as foreign oil tankers and cargo ships are making increasing use of Myanmar ports. Signing the 1990 agreement would help the country deal with an oil spill in its waters by receiving international advice and assistance, deputy transport minister U Kyaw Myo told MPs.
The deputy minister said the convention established measures for dealing with maritime oil pollution caused by ships, seaports and offshore infrastructure. The International Maritime Organisation-backed text was adopted in 1990 and entered into force in 1995. As of April, 109 countries have signed it, including fellow ASEAN members Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, as well as Bangladesh.
Signatories receive cooperation from fellow members in the region in coping with oil spills at sea, sharing information and costs.
If it becomes a signatory, the government would be expected to adjust local laws, draw up measures to deal with oil spills and pollution, form a pollution task force and work with counterpart organisations in the region. The convention requires ships to create an oil pollution emergency plan
MPs were invited to express their interest in debating the president’s request.
– Translation by Win Thaw Tar