The Master, after notification of authorities, should consider the use of available shipboard materials to clean up or contain the spilled oil by, for example, using ship-stocked sorbents or utilizing mooring ropes, or air-filled fire hoses as makeshift booms.
In case of small operational spills, the ship should take whatever actions are necessary to prevent the oil escaping overside and having done so, will need to take action to clean up the oil contained on deck. The shipboard contingency plan should include details of the type, quantity and location of oil spill response material kept on board for dealing with minor spillages on deck. This could usefully include sorbent material, degreasant, dispersant and portable pumps, all of which should be maintained ready to respond rapidly to minor spills.
It is well understood that spilled oil should never be washed overside, nor should dispersants or degreasants be used on oil spilt in the water as their use could contravene local regulations (they may be forbidden and/or harmful to the environment).>
In the case of larger spills, the safety of the crew and ship take priority.
Ship's actions, limited in such situation, will be to report details to the relevant authorities and to request the appropriate clean-up response.
Immediate actions to minimize danger of small oil spillings:
Immediate actions to minimize danger of major oil spills (after collisions, grounding, etc.)