Once the SPRO agreement is signed, it is imperative that operators inform SPROs of their arrival within an agreed time frame, so that the SPRO can mobilize and maintain the necessary resources on standby. It is also imperative that all vessels retain the agreement with a copy of the pollution response action plan. The master and crew must also know the contents. The terms of the conservation agreement must be in line with the standard MSA agreement that was announced with the detailed rules. Owners should carefully consider providing additional conditions that can be attached to the standard contract, if necessary, in order to best protect their interests. The standard agreement provides for a single visit to the port or an agreed fixed duration. The SPRO model agreement provides for the law of the PRC and the parties must choose that all related disputes be decided by the PRC courts, referred to arbitration or negotiated by the MSA in accordance with the rules of the Maritime Arbitration Commission of China. Under the regulations, operators enter or exit ports prior to operation or entry or exit of the ports, an agreement to clean up pollution with organizations that have acquired the necessary qualifications for pollution clean-up, which defines the rights and obligations of both parties to eliminate pollution in the event of a pollution accident caused by a ship. Huatai recently warned that ships arriving at a Chinese port without a valid SPRO agreement could impose a fine of between RMB10,000 and RMB50,000 and that local MSA offices would conduct survey checks to verify that incoming vessels are compliant. A copy of Huata`s flyer can be find here. Owners and operators who are ENTITIes of the PRC or foreign companies established in mainland China must sign direct agreements with SPROS. Overseas companies can either enter into a contract directly or use an MSA-approved agent. In the event of an emergency, the ship`s captain may be allowed to sign agreements.

The person signing the SPRO agreement must have a letter of authorization and is presumed to be available electronically. Although the regulations have been in effect since January 1, 2012, the MSA has announced that vessels that cannot benefit from an SPRO agreement prior to their arrival are allowed to sign entry, provided an agreement is signed before departure. However, owners and operators are advised to take steps to negotiate the terms and conclude an SPRO agreement in a timely manner before the vessel arrives in China. After 1 March 2012, ships in the absence of a SPRO agreement will no longer be able to enter Chinese ports and will have to expect a significant fine. If one or more of the requirements set out in points 2, 3 or 5 are not met by SPROS, members should make the best efforts to negotiate with the SPRO to obtain their consent to meet these requirements or seek another SPROS ready to meet all of these requirements. On 14 September 2012, the China Maritime Safety Agency (MSA) issued revised detailed rules for the implementation of the administrative regime of the Ship Pollution Response Agreement to amend the detailed rules previously published by the Chinese MSA and entered into force on 1 January 2012. The revised detailed internal regulations were accompanied by a revised spill response treaty. The revised detailed rules had an immediate effect. At the same time, China MSA cancelled a series of notices on the implementation of the regulations, resulting in some changes to the spill response requirements in place since January 1, 2012.

IG recommended the sPRO agreement on November 20, 2012 the MSA agreement contains revised model clauses. Following discussions with SPROOs on payment deadlines, the International Group published a revised version of the SPRO agreement in December 2014 – see communication to members No.