Although the regulations have been in effect since January 1, 2012, the MSA has announced that vessels that cannot benefit from an SPRO agreement prior to their arrival are allowed to sign entry, provided an agreement is signed before departure. However, owners and operators are advised to take steps to negotiate the terms and conclude an SPRO agreement in a timely manner before the vessel arrives in China. After 1 March 2012, ships in the absence of a SPRO agreement will no longer be able to enter Chinese ports and will have to expect a significant fine. Owners and operators should be aware that the agreement also requires vessels to cooperate with the SPRO to conduct oil pollution exercises that SPROS must conduct twice a year to meet MSA quality standards. Operators should receive assurances from the SPRO that these exercises are not inconsistent with the vessel`s operational requirements. 11/2014: Regulations of the People`s Republic of China on the prevention and control of pollution caused by ships The implementation of strong pollution regulations has been made necessary by a steady increase in oil spills. China has experienced a series of high-level oil spills, including the 2009 zooric oil spill, the Dalian pipeline spill in 2010 and a series of drillhead spills in Bohai Bay in 2011. 5) Has the SPRO provided an “approved” adjustment rate? enter into a pollution clean-up contract with a Vessel Pollution Response Organization (SPRO) before the vessel enters or outside the port of the PRC, but within 20 nm off the coast, loading, unloading or shipping. The MSA has approved more than 100 SPROs (as of January 6, 2012). In addition, the MSA also authorized 7 SPRO consortia that demonstrated that they had the necessary arrangements with other SPROSs to provide response services at several ports. If owners and operators expect to call regularly at different Chinese ports, awarding contracts with one of these consortia may be the most effective agreement, instead of concluding many SPRO agreements for each port. enter into a pollution clean-up contract with a competent vessel pollution response organization (SPRO) before the vessel enters an PRC port.