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Implementation and application of the National Plan

The National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies (the National Plan) sets out national arrangements, policies and principles for managing maritime environmental emergencies.

The National Plan, implemented in 1973, provides a single national, comprehensive and integrated response for minimising the impacts of marine pollution from spills and other maritime emergencies on:

Image of front page of National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies

To maximise Australia's marine pollution response capability, we manage the National Plan by working with:

To ensure consistency, the National Plan provides policy and guidance on the following:

It builds on eight important principles common to all forms of emergency response:


The National Plan deals with pollution, potential pollution of the sea, or harm to the marine environment by oil or hazardous and noxious substances originating from:

It does not deal with ballast water, marine pests, or marine pollutants other than oil and hazardous and noxious substances, general marine debris and rubbish. These areas are managed under other regimes and agreements.

Where does the National Plan apply?

The National Plan applies throughout the Australian exclusive economic zone, and covers all coastal waters, offshore islands and territories.

It also applies on the high seas where an incident has the potential to impact Australian interests.

The National Plan provides:

Related information

Last updated: 4 August 2023