Vessel pollution can be a problem. Accidental or not, under Federal law (the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act), it is illegal to discharge any amount of fuel, oil or other petroleum product into the waters of the United States. By law, any oil or fuel spill that leaves a sheen on the water must be reported to the:
U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802
Even a small spill from vessel pollution can quickly result in a large sheen when combined with wind and wave action. Legally, you are required to report all spills, regardless of amount. Civil penalties can be imposed against anyone failing to report a spill. It is also against the law to use detergents, soaps, emulsifying agents or other chemicals to disperse a spill. These products cause the petroleum to sink, creating even greater environmental damage. While it may only seem like a small amount, it can permanently contaminate bottom sediments. Anyone who deliberately applies soap to disperse or hide a sheen is subject to criminal penalties and high fines.
To increase awareness of the issue, boats 26′ and longer are required to post an oil placard (available at marine supply stores) near the engine.
Vessel Pollution Liability provides coverage for spills and threats of spills from vessels. This includes, but is not limited to clean-up, third party property damage, subsistence, assessment of and damage to natural resources, loss of revenues and profits by third parties, loss of public services, defense, investigation, advertising, civil penalties, criminal fines and defense and interest.
For vessels over 300GT that are required by law to have a federal Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR), Vessel Pollution carriers will provide the financial guaranty to the Coast Guard.
We have drawn upon our unique experience with oil pollution incidents to create a policy covering cleanup expenses for on-water spills. Coverage for fines and penalties can be included.
Our Oil Pollution Cleanup Coverage is designed for the Brownwater Industry and is primarily intended to cover vessel owner responsibilities under OPA 90 and CERCLA for discharge or potential discharge of oil from bunkering spills and grounding or sinking.
Contact Accessible Marine Insurance today for additional information and a free consultation.