The Antarctic Act (2006:924)

Definitions

Section 1

In this Act, means

The Antarctic: the area south of 60 S,

The Antarctic Treaty: the 1959 Antarctic Treaty (SÖ 1984:5),

The Protocol on Environmental Protection: the 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (SÖ 1994:52),

Party: State Party to the Antarctic Treaty,

Principal: the natural or legal person on whose assignment a presence or operation in the Antarctic is arranged, conducted or is intended to be conducted,

The environment in the Antarctic: the environment in the Antarctic and the ecosystems that depend on or are associated with the environment in the Antarctic,

Environmentally hazardous accident: an event that entails or may entail significant damage to the environment in the Antarctic,

Foreign permit: a permit or consent that according to corresponding legislation of another party is required for a stay or operation in the Antarctic,

Vessel: a vessel, regardless of type, that is used in the marine environment together with fixed or floating platforms,

Observer: a person appointed by another party to observe compliance with the Antarctic Treaty or the Protocol on Environmental Protection and concerning whom the other party has given notice to the Government or the authority appointed by the Government, or a person appointed at the consultative meetings of the Antarctic Treaty in order to perform inspections according to a procedure determined at such a meeting,

Special Drawing Rights: the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) used by the International Monetary Fund.

Scope of the Act

Section 2

This Act applies to

  1. Swedish nationals and Swedish legal persons,
  2. foreign nationals who are resident in Sweden, and
  3. foreign nationals taking part in an expedition or other activity for which there is a permit under this Act.

The special provisions concerning vessels in the Antarctic contained in Section 11 apply to Swedish vessels and foreign vessels other than government ships that are being used for an operation in the Antarctic where the principal is a Swedish citizen, Swedish legal person or foreign citizen resident in Sweden.

Notwithstanding the first paragraph, the Act shall not apply to an observer or a person who from another party's expedition or station in the Antarctic who take turns to participate in an operation that has a permit under this Act or has been granted an exemption from the requirement for a permit.

General provisions concerning the protection of the environment in the Antarctic

Section 3

It is prohibited to stay or conduct an operation in the Antarctic without a permit under this Act.

The first paragraph does not apply to

  1. overflights, or
  2. exercising such right to freedom of navigation as prescribed by international law concerning the high seas.

Section 4

Anyone who stays or conducts an operation in the Antarctic shall take measures that owing to the stay or the operation are required to

  1. prevent the accumulation of waste and such waste being left in the Antarctic,
  2. otherwise protect and conserve the environment in the Antarctic.

Section 5

It is prohibited to implement an atomic explosion or put radioactive waste in the Antarctic.

Section 6

To the extent not otherwise explicitly stated in a permit under Section 3, it is prohibited in the Antarctic to

  1. try to trace, collect, examine, extract or process mineral resources and meteorites,
  2. collect or have a harmful effect on plant or animal species that are naturally found in the Antarctic,
  3. introduce specimens of plant or animal species on land, on the ice shelf or in the water that are not naturally found in the Antarctic, or
  4. visit listed sites.

Item 2 of the first paragraph does not apply if the capture is permitted under the Convention on Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources adopted in Canberra on 20 May 1980 (SÖ 1984:21). Council Regulation (EC) No 600/2004 of 22 March 2004 laying down certain technical measures applicable to fishing activities in the area covered by the Convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources, Council Regulation (EC) No 601/2004 of 22 March 2004 laying down certain control measures applicable to fishing activities in the area covered by the Convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources and repealing Regulations (EEC) No 3943/90, (EC) No 66/98 and (EC) No 1721/1999 and also in the Fisheries Act (1993:787) and in the provisions issued under that Act that contain provisions regarding such capture.

Item 3 of the first paragraph does not apply to food handled under adequate controls.

Section 7

Anyone who stays or conducts an operation in the Antarctic shall take those safeguards and other precautions required to prevent the occurrence of environmentally hazardous accidents.

Before starting an operation in the Antarctic, the principal shall draw up the contingency plan(s) that are required as a result of the content of the operation for dealing with environmentally hazardous accidents. These contingency plans shall be kept up-to-date for as long as the operation is being conducted.

Section 8

The operation shall be immediately discontinued if it transpires that an operation covered by a permit under this Act entails or there is a risk of it entailing damage to the environment in the Antarctic that had not previously been expected.

Section 9

If an environmentally hazardous accident occurs as a consequence of an operation in the Antarctic, the principal and the party who has caused such an accident shall take such reasonable measures as may be required to quickly and effectively avert, minimise or restrict the effects of the accident.

Section 10

If there are reasons to assume that a mineral resource, meteorite, flora or fauna have been accessed in violation of the provisions of this Act, it is prohibited to handle the material, flora or fauna in a way that is likely to impede its reinstatement.

Special provisions on vessels in the Antarctic

Section 11

is prohibited to discharge from a vessel in the sea in the Antarctic

  1. oil or oily mixtures,
  2. other noxious liquid substances, chemical substances or other substances in quantities or concentrations that are harmful to the marine environment,
  3. untreated toilet waste, or
  4. solid waste.

When a vessel is in the Antarctic, oil sludge, contaminated ballast, bilge flushing water and other oily residues and mixtures shall be retained on board.

Notwithstanding item 3 of the first paragraph, toilet waste may be released from a vessel that is not intended for more than ten people, provided it is released further out than 12 nautical miles from land or the ice shelf.

Notwithstanding item 4 of the first paragraph, food scraps may be released, provided they are released further out than 12 nautical miles from land or the ice shelf and the food scraps have been passed through a decompactor or waste disposal unit and have been ground up into such fine particles that they can pass through a sieve with holes of less than 25 millimetres.

Permits

Section 12

The Government, or the authority appointed by the Government, shall consider matters regarding permits under this Act.

Section 13

A permit application shall contain the environmental impact assessment required to make an overall assessment of the impact of the stay or operation on the environment in the Antarctic.

Section 14

A permit may only be granted if

  1. there is no risk of the stay or the operation having anything other than an insignificant or transitory impact on the environment in the Antarctic, and
  2. the applicant presents acceptable security for the financial liability that the applicant has in the event of an environmentally hazardous accident.

Notwithstanding item 1 of the first paragraph, a permit may be granted if there is a risk of a stay or operation entailing more than an insignificant or transitory impact on the environment in the Antarctic where there are special reasons to do so.

A permit for an operation as referred to in Section 6, first paragraph, items 1 to 3 may only be granted if the operation forms part of scientific research.

The Swedish Government does not have to provide such security as referred to in item 2 of the first paragraph.

Section 15

A permit shall be combined with those conditions required considering the protection of the environment in the Antarctic.

Section 16

A permit may be revoked if the holder of the permit does not fulfil his or her obligations under this Act, regulations made pursuant to the Act or conditions contained in the permit.

Operations where the principal is not covered by the scope of this Act

Section 17

If the principal is not covered by this Act, anyone who professionally organises or takes part in a stay or operation in the Antarctic shall ensure that the principal has a foreign permit to the extent that such a permit is required.

Section 18

Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 3 to 11, anyone who participates in a stay or operation for which the principal has a foreign permit may stay and take measures within the framework of that permitted under the foreign permit.

Obligation to pay compensation for measures following an environmentally hazardous accident

Section 19

If the obligation to take measures under Section 9 has not been fulfilled, the principal shall pay compensation to the party who has taken these measures instead of the party liable to take measures. This compensation should correspond to the cost of the measures taken.

Section 20

If the obligation to take measures under Section 9 has not been fulfilled and such measures have not been taken by someone else, the principal is liable to pay compensation to the authority appointed by the Government, which is to be passed on to the fund administered the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. This compensation shall, as far as possible, correspond to the cost of taking the measures.

Section 21

A principal is not liable to pay compensation under Section 19 and 20 if the principal shows that the environmentally hazardous accident was caused by

  1. an act or failure that was necessary to protect the life or safety of human beings,
  2. a natural occurrence of an exceptional nature that could not reasonably have been anticipated considering the normal circumstances in the Antarctic and that has had effects that could not reasonably have been averted or minimised by safeguards or other precautions being taken in the operation,
  3. a terrorist act,
  4. an act of war directed at the operation, or
  5. a measure that someone took on the assignment of the Swedish Government to remedy an environmentally hazardous accident that occurred in someone else's operation, provided that the measure taken was justified considering the circumstances.

Section 22

The obligation of a principal to pay compensation under Section 19 or 20 when an environmentally hazardous accident has occurred as a consequence of an operation conducted on a vessel is limited to 1 million Special Drawing Rights if the vessel's tonnage does not exceed 2,000.

If the vessel's tonnage is greater, the limit of liability is increased

  1. by 400 Special Drawing Rights for each tonnage from and including a tonnage of 2,001 up to and including a tonnage of 30,000,
  2. by 300 Special Drawing Rights for each tonnage from and including a tonnage of 30,001 up to and including a tonnage of 70,000, and
  3. by 200 Special Drawing Rights for each tonnage over 70,000.

Section 23

The obligation of a principal to pay compensation under Section 19 or 20, in cases other than those referred to in Section 22, is limited to 3 million Special Drawing Rights.

Section 24

The provisions on limitation of liability contained in Sections 22 and 23 do not apply if the environmentally hazardous accident was caused intentionally or by gross negligence.

Section 25

The right of another party to compensation from a principal for an non-government operation according to Section 19 lapses if the party has not instituted proceedings for compensation at Stockholm City Court no later than three years after the time that the measures on which the claim for compensation was based commenced or, if the following point in time falls later, no later than three years after the time a party became aware or ought to have become aware of the identity of the principal of the operation or stay within which the accident occurred.

The right to compensation will lapse if an action under the first paragraph is not instituted within 15 years from the date when the measures commenced.

Exemption

Section 26

The Government or the authority appointed by the Government may grant an exemption from the requirement for a permit referred to in Section 3 in an individual case. Exemptions may only be granted if the stay or the operation is irrelevant to the environment in the Antarctic.

Emergencies

Section 27

The provisions concerning prohibitions and obligations contained in Sections 3 to 11 and 17 do not apply to an emergency situation relating to the protection of the environment or the safety of human life, aircraft, vessels or property with a substantial economic value.

In such an emergency situation, each individual shall act so that the environment in the Antarctic is affected as little as possible.

Authorisation to make regulations

Section 28

The Government or the authority appointed by the Government may make regulations concerning

  1. waste management in the Antarctic,
  2. listed sites referred to in Section 6, first paragraph, item 4,
  3. the obligation to take preventive measures under Section 7,
  4. contingency plans under Section 7,
  5. what is required for an environmental impact assessment under Section 13, and
  6. calculation and payment of compensation under Section 20.

Supervision

Section 29

The Government or the authority appointed by the Government shall exercise supervision as regards compliance with this Act, regulations made pursuant to this Act and the provisions contained in a permit granted under this Act.

Section 30

Anyone who has been granted a permit under this Act shall

  1. at the request of the supervisory authority, provide the authority with the information and documents that are required for the supervision, and
  2. at the request of the supervisory authority or an observer, provide the observer with the information and documents that the observer needs for his or her assignment.

Section 31

The supervisory authority and an observer are entitled to be afforded access to premises, an area or a means of transport where an operation subject to a prohibition or permit requirements under this Act is being conducted.

The supervisory authority is also entitled to investigate circumstances of importance for the application of a provision of this Act, contained in regulations made pursuant to the Act or contained in the permit.

Section 32

The provisions concerning observers contained in Sections 30 and 31 only apply on land and on the ice shelf in the Antarctic and on all vessels and aircraft located at places for landing, disembarkation or embarkation of personnel and loading or unloading of cargo on land or on the ice shelf.

Section 33

The supervisory authority may issue the orders and prohibitions required to comply with this Act, regulations made pursuant to the Act and provisions contained in permits granted under the Act.

An order or prohibition may be made subject to a default fine.

Penalties, etc.

Section 34

A sentence of fines or imprisonment of at most two years shall be imposed upon anyone who intentionally or by negligence

  1. breaches a prohibition contained in Sections 3, 5, 6, 10 or 11,
  2. breaches Section 8 by continuing an operation despite the fact that it should have been discontinued,
  3. breaches Section 9 by failing to implement a measure to avert, minimise or limit the effects of an environmentally hazardous accident,
  4. breaches a condition contained in a permit according to Section 15,
  5. breaches Section 17 by failing to ensure that the principal has the permits required for the operation,
  6. breaches Section 27, second paragraph by in an emergency situation acting in a way that has a greater impact on the environment than necessary, or
  7. breaches a provision contained in Section 30 or 31 by failing to provide the information or a document, by providing incorrect information or by refusing the supervisory authority or an observer access or the supervisory authority the possibility of investigating.

If the offence is grave, imprisonment for at least six months and at most six years shall be imposed. When assessing whether the offence is grave, particular regard shall be taken to whether it involved or could involve permanent damage on a large scale, whether the act was otherwise of a particularly dangerous nature or involved conscious risk taking of a serious nature or whether the perpetrator, when special attention or skill was required, committed negligence of a serious kind.

Liability for attempts to commit an offence shall be sentenced under Chapter 23 of the Penal Code.

A sentence shall not be imposed in minor cases.

If an act as referred to in item 7 of the first paragraph is subject to a penalty contained in the Penal Code, a sentence shall not be imposed for the same act under this Act.

Section 35

A sentence of fines shall be imposed on anyone who intentionally or by gross negligence

  1. breaches a provision concerning waste management made by the Government or, following the authorisation of the Government, an authority that has been issued pursuant to item 1 of Section 28,
  2. breaches a provision concerning the obligation to take preventive measures or draw up contingency plans that the Government or, following the authorisation of the Government, an authority that has been issued pursuant to item 3 of Section 28.

A sentence imposing liability shall not be imposed in minor cases.

Section 36

Anyone who does not comply with an order subject to a default fine or a prohibition subject to a default fine as referred to in Section 33 may not be sentenced to liability under this Act for the act covered by the order or prohibition.

Section 37

Property that was the object of an offence as referred to in Section 34 or the value of this property shall be forfeited unless it would be manifestly unreasonable to do so.

An object used as an aid when committing an offence as referred to in Section 34 or the value of this object may be declared forfeited if necessary to prevent crime or if there are other special reasons.

Appeals

Section 38

An appeal may be made to a general administrative court against a decision made in an individual case by someone other than the Government or a general court under this Act or according to regulations made on the basis of this Act.

Leave to appeal is required for an appeal to the administrative court of appeal.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management may appeal against a decision regarding a permit that an administrative authority has granted under this Act or according to provisions issued on the basis of the Act. Act (2011:611)

Editor: Cecilia Selberg Last updated: 2013-07-05
Photo: Agneta Fransson

The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat issues permits for Swedish citizens to visit Antarctica. Remember to apply well in advance.

Photo: Adam Jeppesen

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