POLREP Overview

The text on this page give a general explanation of the POLREP reporting system used by European oil spill authorities to exchange information with one another when an oil spill at sea has occurred. The text is modified from the Bonn Agreement Counter Pollution Manual, chapter 5.

A POLREP template in word format can be downloaded HERE.

A detailed explanation of the different numbers in Parts I, II and III of the POLREP form is available on the ‘POLREP Instructions’ page.

Overview of the POLREP system

The POLREP Pollution Reporting System is for use between oil spill combating authorities to exchange information when pollution of the sea has occurred or when a threat of such is present. The POLREP is divided into 3 parts:

Part 1 or POLWARN (numbers 1 – 5) POLlution WARNing gives information or warning of pollution or threat of pollution
Part II or POLINF (numbers 40 – 60) POLlution INFormation gives detailed supplementary information
Part III or POLFAC (numbers 80 – 99) POLlution FACilities deals with matters related to assistance
Note that entries 53, 54, 55 and 88 in the POLREP form (spare for additional or specific information) have been used for wildlife response-specific information relevant for a EUROWA module mobilisation.

The division into three parts is for identification purposes only. For this reason, consecutive numbers are not used. This enables the addressee or addressees to know merely by looking at the numbers whether they are dealing with Part I (1 – 5), Part II (40 – 60) or Part III (80 – 99). This method or division should in no way exclude the use of all numbers in a full report or the separate use of single numbers from each part or the use of single numbers from different parts mixed in one report.

When Part I is used as a warning, the use of the priority transmission code “URGENT” is optional. Such a message should always be followed up by a supplementary POLREP or be cancelled. Part II is used to give detailed information about the incident. Part III is used for matters related to assistance and operational matters exclusively.

Each single report should be identifiable. The receiving combating authority should be in a position to check if all reports of the incident in question have been received. This is done by using a serial number preceded by a national identification, e.g. “DK 1/1”. The national identifiers are two letter codes denoting the country issuing the POLREP form (e.g. BE Belgium, DK Denmark, NL Netherlands etc.). See full list of country abbreviations at http://publications.europa.eu/code/en/en-370100.htm.

The number before the stroke indicates the pollution to which the report refers and is used because a country may have to deal with several slicks or pollution incidents simultaneously. The number following the stroke indicates the actual number of reports which have been originated on the pollution in question. “DK 1/1” thus indicates the first report of the pollution in question. “DK 1/2” will in accordance with the described system then indicate the second report of the same pollution. The last and final POLREP will show as follows: “DK 1/5 FINAL”, which means that this is the fifth and final report concerning the first pollution.

If the pollution caused by the incident splits up in clearly separate patches – in this example two spills – the wording, “DK 1/2 now splitting in DK 2 and 3” should be indicated in the last report from the incident identified by the number 1 preceding the stroke.

The first reports from the two patches originating from the incident first reported will then be numbered DK 2/1 and DK 3/1, and consecutive numbering could then be used after the stroke.

In order to keep the receivers of POLREP informed of all the transmitted reports, the combating authority sending the POLREP must after the serial number include information on the recipients of the earlier transmitted POLREPs, e.g.:

  • DK 2/5 – DK2/1 for DE and SE
  • DK 2/2 for DE
  • DK 2/3 for SE
  • DK 2/4 for DE and SE

Concerning the numbers 5, 60 and 99, it is emphasized that “ACKNOWLEDGE” made by the combating authority addressed should be with reference to the serial number in question, e.g. “your DK 2/1”.

By answering a POLREP, the serial number used by the transmitting combating authority is to be used as reference in the answer (see above). However, it is not necessary for countries to adhere to the POLREP system in responding to POLREPs.

If the POLREP is used in exercises, the text is to be introduced with the word “EXERCISE” and finished with the same word repeated three times. The same procedure should also be used for the following reports which deal with the exercise.

A POLREP template in word format can be downloaded HERE.

A  detailed explanation of the different numbers in Parts I, II and III of the POLREP form is available on the ‘POLREP INSTRUCTIONS’ page.