The Port of Barcelona Self-Protection Plan (PAU) is a document containing the actions to be taken in the event of an emergency that could partially or totally affect the port facilities, whether caused internally or externally. It should be mentioned that the territorial scope of the plan includes the land part within the perimeter of the Port of Barcelona and the port service maritime area.

The PAU has three objectives: tackling the origin of the emergency situation, mitigating its consequences on people, goods and the environment, and since it is a strategic facility, restoring service as quickly as possible.

In fact, the Self-Protection Plan should also be seen as an additional tool to help Barcelona Port Authority fulfil its mission with respect to its responsibility for managing infrastructures and the need to guarantee the provision of reliable services.

The latest version of the PAU was approved definitively on 31 May 2017 by the Port of Barcelona Management Board. It is pending approval by the Civil Protection Commission of Catalonia.

The new version simplifies the structure of the document, improves organisation and operation in an emergency situation, setting out the actions to be taken in the event of any emergency in a response setup that is unique, scalable and compatible with the system of civil protection plans. This revision is in line with Decree 30/2015 of 3 March 2015 approving the catalogue of activities and centres that are required to adopt self-protection measures, and sets out the content of such measures.

The PAU essentially relies on the structure of the Port Authority, but shares responsibilities with the Harbourmaster's Office, according to the powers granted under the Law on Ports and the Merchant Navy, involving the participation of all existing coordination centres and the port services offered by the Port.

Specifically, the Emergency Manager comprises the APB's General Manager and the Harbourmaster, advised by a Crisis Cabinet that includes APB officials, representatives of the holders of the concession or ships affected, and representatives from the local, regional and state administrations. The Communication Department is also part of this management structure, which is set up in the Port's Operational Coordination Centre (CECOPORT) in the event of an emergency.

Below the Emergency Manager, the figure of the Emergency Chief - a role shared by the APB's Industrial Security Chief and the Harbourmaster's Office's Maritime Safety and Maritime Inspection Coordinator -, links CECOPORT with the commander on the ground, i.e. the Intervention Chief. The figure of Intervention Chief will normally correspond to the Land Coordinator, although if the situation occurs onboard a ship, the person responsible for the intervention can be the Maritime Coordinator. All of these figures together ensure a holistic approach among the various entities involved, on land or on water.

The APB Control Centre is the PAU's management centre, but is assisted directly by the Barcelona Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and the Port Control Tower, according to their respective powers.
The PAU can be activated at different levels according to the severity and scope of the situation: ALERT (Level 0), CONCESSION EMERGENCY (Level 1), SECTOR EMERGENCY (Level 2), GENERAL EMERGENCY (Level 3).

The PAU is activated by default at Level 0 (Alert) as soon as an emergency alert is received. With the available information, the APB Control Centre alerts the port emergency services and communicates the situation to the land and sea emergency chiefs, who decide on the level of activation by mutual agreement. This level of activation will then be transmitted to the authorities and to the corresponding bodies, and the necessary emergency resources will be dispatched by the various coordination centres according to the level.

Integration with lower-level plans
The PAU of the Port of Barcelona must respect and simultaneously integrate the self-protection plans and emergency measures of the various activities located within it. In this connection, the PAU states that in the event of an internal emergency the concessions must call 080 (Barcelona) or 112 (El Prat), depending on their location, and must always additionally notify the APB Control Centre. In the event of an external emergency, this centre, with the support of the Maritime Rescue Centre and the Port Control Tower, will send the warning on to all concessions and vessels that may be affected.

On the ground, the people in charge and the emergency teams of the concessions affected must coordinate with those responsible for the Port of Barcelona PAU.

Integration with higher-level plans
The Port of Barcelona PAU must be understood as one more link in the chain of emergency plans. Above the Port PAU are the municipal civil protection plans of Barcelona (via the various Municipal Emergency Action Plans, or PAEMs) and those of El Prat de Llobregat in its area of competence, and the civil protection plans of the Catalan Government (Generalitat). Of these, the plans related most directly to the port activities are CAMCAT, PLASEQCAT and TRANSCAT, without ruling out the plans linked to natural phenomena, and PROCICAT. Integration with municipal and Autonomous Community (regional) civil protection plans is achieved at two levels of decision-making: the Emergency Director of the Port PAU in coordination with the municipal and regional authorities, and the Forward Command Centre (FCC), where the people responsible for the Intervention Group of the municipal or regional plan will be responsible for actions in the area of Operations, above the people responsible for the PAU, who are also present in the FCC. Lastly, the Communication Department of the Port PAU must also coordinate with the Information Office on the civil protection plans, and simultaneously with the communication officers of the concessions or companies affected.

Integration with other port plans
In the Port of Barcelona, other port emergency or action plans co-exist with the PAU, such as the Port Protection Plan, in the police area, and the PIM, for maritime pollution matters. In police emergencies, the PAU will be subject to the instructions and needs of the highest police authority. However, in the event of maritime pollution damage linked to an emergency, the PAU will act according to the characteristics of that emergency.

Access to the restricted area