Maritime environmental emergency management and arrangements

Find out about legislation and arrangements for managing maritime environmental emergencies.

The Department of Transport (DoT) is the Hazard Management Agency for maritime environmental emergencies in WA. This includes marine oil pollution and marine transport emergencies.

DoT implements and adheres to State, national and international arrangements, and legislation to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from maritime environmental emergencies.  

Report all maritime environmental emergencies immediately by calling 08 9480 9924.

National arrangements

National Plan

The National Plan to combat pollution of the sea by oil and other noxious and hazardous substances sets out the plan for how Australia will respond to marine pollution spills in Australian waters.

The plan is centred around a collective intergovernmental agreement with the Australian Government and Australian states and territories characterised by willing and effective cooperation under mutual aid and support arrangements.

Find out more about the National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies. 


The Maritime Emergency Response Commander (MERCOM)

In line with the National Plan, the MERCOM is responsible for the management of emergency intervention issues in response to maritime casualty incidents where there is an actual or potential risk of significant pollution.

The MERCOM is appointed by AMSA and is supported by statutory powers under the Protection of the Sea (Powers of Intervention) Act 1981.

State arrangements

State Emergency Management Framework

The State Emergency Management Framework is made up of legislation, policy, plans, procedures, guidelines and a governance structure to facilitate effective management of emergencies in WA.

The framework incorporates a suite of documents endorsed by the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) and is supported by a suite of tools for emergency management practitioners.

Find out more about the State Emergency Management Framework and SEMC.

Control Agency

In line with the State Emergency Management Framework, a Control Agency is the agency or organisation assigned by legislation, administrative arrangement (such as State Hazard Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies) or within the relevant contingency or emergency/incident plan to control the response activities to an incident.

In WA this is generally limited to either DoT or Port Authorities.

State Hazard Plan

The State Hazard Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies guides the management of marine oil pollution and marine transport emergencies in WA, including prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.

This is the cornerstone document of the Maritime Environmental Emergency Response Program.

Download the State Hazard Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies.

State and Port Waters maps

Map showing locations of WA State Water and WA Port Waters.
Map showing locations of WA State Water and WA Port Waters.


State Marine Pollution Coordinator

In line with the State Hazard Plan, the State Marine Pollution Coordinator is a senior government official appointed to provide strategic leadership and coordination in support of a Control Agency during a maritime environmental emergency.

They are the primary contact point for:

  • facilitating National Plan collaboration and support
  • facilitating strategic coordination in resolving any multi-jurisdictional-agency conflicts in prevention of or preparedness for maritime environmental emergencies in WA
  • responding to and when recovering from maritime environmental emergencies in WA.


Oiled Wildlife Response Plan

The Western Australian Oiled Wildlife Response Plan (WAOWRP) sets out the minimum standard required for an oiled wildlife response in WA.

It is administered by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

Find out more about DBCA's oiled wildlife response.

Departmental arrangements

Incident management plans

The Incident Management Plan – Marine Transport Emergency and the Incident Management Plan – Marine Oil Pollution both set out the specific response actions DoT will take when responding to or supporting the response to a maritime environmental emergency in WA.

Guidance notes

DoT has developed a series of guidance notes to advise Ports, Petroleum Operators and Local Governments of the emergency management arrangements for maritime environmental emergencies in WA and the preferred process for consultation. 

The guidance notes outline the roles and responsibilities of relevant agencies and organisations under those arrangements.

Maritime Environmental Emergency Response (MEER) team

The MEER team’s role is to support DoT to meet its obligations as a Hazard Management Agency.

They seek to safely minimise the likelihood of and impacts on people, environment, economy, heritage, and reputation from a Maritime Environmental Emergency within WA.

They take a cross-stakeholder, integrated capability approach to the management of Maritime Environmental Emergency within WA, based on risk to the State.

Contact the MEER Team at 

Page last updated: Thu Apr 18 2024 3:06:14 PM