Financial responsibility for oil spills

We require tank vessels, including small barges and commercial cargo/fishing/passenger vessels, to have financial responsibility. This means they are able to pay for the costs and damages of a spill up to a specified amount.


What is financial responsibility?

Financial responsibility refers to the proof or demonstration that a responsible party is able to pay for the costs and damages of a spill up to a specified amount. Typically, financial responsibility is evidenced by an insurance policy or Pollution and Indemnity (P&I) club documents, but also may involve surety bonds, guarantees, letters of credit, or qualification for self-insurance.

Financial responsibility requirements

Washington has financial responsibility requirements based on type of vessel and total capacity for storage or transfer of product. Washington does not have its own certification program for financial responsibility. Instead, we rely on federal and other state programs to certify vessels for financial responsibility. There is currently no program to certify financial responsibility for onshore oil handling facilities.

Type of vessel

Financial requirements

Tank vessels and large barges of equal or greater than 300 gross tons

$1 billion

Tank vessels of less than 300 gross tons Based on the quantity of cargo the vessel is capable of carrying but no less than the federal requirement

Small tank barges of 300-or-less gross tons or a self-propelled tank vessel less than one hundred and thirty feet in overall length

$2 million or $3,000 per barrel of total capacity of persistent oil or $1,500 per barrel of total capacity of nonpersistent oil;
whichever is greater

Small tank barges of 300-or-less gross tons carrying non-persistent oil

$1,500 per barrel of total capacity

Cargo vessels and passenger vessels with an oil capacity greater than 6,000 gallons $300 million
Fishing vessels of 300-or-greater gross tons where oil is predominantly a persistent product $6.67 million or $400.20 per barrel of total capacity; whichever is greater
Fishing vessels of 300-or-greater gross tons where oil is predominantly a non-persistent product $1.334 million or $133.40 per barrel of total capacity; whichever is greater
Barges that transport hazardous substances in bulk as cargo $5 million or $300 per gross ton; whichever is greater
Oil spill response barges None if tank barge is certified to be used solely for an oil spill response
 

Type of facility

Financial requirements

Onshore or offshore facility
This does not apply to facilities owned and operated by federal, state, or local government
To be determined by Ecology for damages that might occur during a reasonable worst case spill

More information