Marine oil spills

Victoria's diverse coast and marine environments are among our state's most valued assets. One of the most serious risks to our marine environment is an oil spill.

International conventions and Australian laws have been developed to reduce the number of marine accidents, improve safety and prevent oil spills. As an island nation that relies heavily on shipping activity with an offshore petroleum industry, oil spills remain a possibility.

The role of the department

Through its Marine Pollution Team, the department is responsible for ensuring Victoria is adequately prepared for and effectively responds to an oil spill in state waters (up to three nautical miles offshore).

Oil spill response is supported by the Victorian Marine Pollution Contingency Plan a whole-of-Government plan for dealing with marine oil spills. 

Coastal Response Agencies

The ports, identified in the map below, work with the Marine Pollution Team to prepare for and respond to marine oil spills. Specialist oil spill equipment is strategically located in these four regions along the Victorian coast, with a major stockpile of equipment held in Williamstown.

This is an diagram of Victoria's waterways and identifies which Costal Response Agencies are responsible for each area. The Port of Portland is responsible for all waters within three nautical miles offshore from the South Australian border to Cape Otway. The Port of Melbourne Corporation is responsible for all waters within three nautical miles offshore from Cape Otway to Cape Schanck. Patric Ports is responsible for all waters within three nautical miles offshore from Cape Schanck to Wilsons Promontory. And Gippsland Ports is responsible for all waters within three nautical miles offshore from Wilsons Promontory to the New South Wales border. 

Advice to offshore operators

Offshore petroleum industry operators conducting operations within or near Victorian coastal waters must consult with and include the department during their Oil Spill Contingency Planning process.  

Advice regarding the state's expectations having regard to operator consultation is outlined in the former department's Offshore Petroleum Industry Oil Spill Contingency Planning Consultation MOS Offshore Petroleum Industry Oil Spill Contingency Planning Consultation (DOC 1997.5 KB)DOC icon document.

If a spill should occur during offshore petroleum operations, the relevant response agency will work with the operator to mitigate the effects of oil in the environment. In this instance the operator may be liable for costs incurred during clean up.

Find out more

Contact

For more information on marine oil spill response in Victoria, contact the Marine Pollution Team on (03) 9208 3404 or email marine.pollution@ecodev.vic.gov.au.

Page last reviewed on 27 June 2016

Global menu Back to Top