Applicability: All shipowners and operators

The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) has produced guidelines on the capabilities of emergency response services. These recommend the minimum scope, competence and capability of emergency response service provision, as required by current oil tanker legislation.

The current version of the guidelines can be accessed through the OCIMF website: 

Emergency response services guidelines

Emergency response service provision

OPA-90 requirements for tank vessels and MARPOL Annex I, Regulation 37.4* for oil tankers greater than 5,000 dwt require emergency response service provision that delivers prompt access to damage stability and damage residual strength assessment. OCIMF recommends that providers meet the standards set out in the guidelines. OCIMF notes that the principles contained in the guidelines could be applied to other vessel types, such as gas and chemical tankers.

Ship Emergency Response Service (SERS) from Lloyd’s Register

We can confirm that Lloyd‘s Register’s Ship Emergency Response Service (SERS) meets the standards of the OCIMF guidelines. Our SERS procedures, developed as part of LR’s continuing support to the industry, align closely with the guidelines’ core elements. Established more than 30 years ago, SERS is the largest and most experienced emergency response service, covering more than 3,100 vessels, including 1,400 oil tankers. Both LR and non-LR classed vessels can enrol with the service.

For more information or to enrol, contact Wijendra Peiris on +44 (0)2380 249691 or at

Background to the guidelines

The guidelines represent OCIMF’s view of best practice and have been prepared following a review of industry arrangements. They consider the absence in the current legislation of detailed arrangements for emergency response service provision and the variation in the level and scope of service provided, and the type of service provider, whether a classification society, consultant or an operator maintaining its own cover.

The guidelines address:

  • technical scope of assessment of strength, stability, grounding and outflow
  • emergency room arrangements and location
  • pre-preparation and maintenance of computer models
  • communications
  • reporting requirements
  • response times
  • business continuity
  • emergency response team capability
  • response team resourcing
  • training and exercises.

*Classification News No. 32/2006 details the introduction of the MARPOL requirement and is available here

For further information 

Speak to one of our experts at your local Lloyd's Register office.