The German coastal areas of the Baltic and North Seas are part of the most frequented shipping routes in the world.
The high density of shipping traffic requires effective preventive measures, especially to protect the environment from hazards
associated with this kind of traffic.
There is always a risk of pollution of the sea and beaches with oil and other chemicals due to accidents. For this reason, the Ministries of the Environment of the Coastal States, in cooperation with the Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure have developed a common contingency plan for the entire German North Sea and Baltic coasts including estuaries and connected navigable waterways, supporting the onshore response capacity to accidental release of hazardous material, e.g. mineral oil or floating hazardous and noxious substances (HNS).
Since 2000, the VPS.system software has been implementing this
plan on the basis of modern information technology.
It is examined on an annual basis, and, if required, adapted to the
changing organisational and technical conditions.
The creation, the maintenance and the use of VPS.system are
part of the German national response strategy which legally mandates the five German coastal states and the Federal
Government with shared areas of responsibility.
The plan aims at fulfilling both legal and technical requirements with respect to sustainability of the marine ecosystem and for disaster control in naval haz-mat operations on our shores.
The combating of pollutants released to coastal areas, harbours and the high seas requires an permanent state of readiness of staff and equipment.
In order to react quickly and effectively in the case of an incident, the incident commander in charge must have all important information readily at hand.