8/3/2017: Coast Guard, Mexican navy sign joint pollution response contingency plan

Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Paul Zukunft and Secretary of the Mexican navy Admiral Vidal Francisco Soberón Sanz signed the newly revised Mexico-U.S. Joint Contingency Plan (MEXUS) July 11, 2017, to demonstrate the two countries’ shared commitment to continued engagement and coordination in protection of the marine environment.

The signing took place in Mexico City, Mexico and is the culmination of extensive negotiations between the Coast Guard Office of Marine Environmental Response and the Mexican navy, known as Secretaría de Marina, over the past two years. The revised MEXUS pares down the 2000 version of the plan significantly and promotes enhanced regional-level communication and coordination.

The MEXUS establishes standard operational procedures in the event a pollution incident occurs that may affect the coastal waters or marine environment of both the U.S. and Mexico. MEXUS also identifies agencies from each country that will provide varying levels of support in carrying out the plan’s objective and purpose and clearly identifies common terms and definitions for better communication during a joint response.

Components of the joint response system covered by MEXUS include, among others: coordination and levels of command roles and responsibilities; planning and preparedness; meetings and exercises; operational elements such as mechanical recovery and dispersant usage; trans-boundary movement of response resources; public information, and funding.

MEXUS is derived from the obligation set forth in the 1980 Cooperation Agreement Between the United Mexican States and the United States of America Regarding Pollution of the Marine Environment by Discharges of Hydrocarbons or Other Hazardous Substances. It is supplemented by two legally non-binding regional annexes, MEXUSGULF and MEXUSPAC, which are implemented under the oversight and responsibility of the respective Secretaría de Marina region/zone commanders and the Coast Guard district commanders.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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