Maritime activities bring concern about environmental protection in the event of hazardous material spills or oil and gas leaks. The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 created an internationally recognized requirement of responsibility for hazardous elements entering the ocean, and vessels entering US waters are now required to carry a certificate of financial responsibility. With COFR insurance, an operator is able to successfully demonstrate to the National Pollution Funds Center which issues the certificate that there is a guarantee of financial resources to contain and address cleanup or resolution.
The US Coast Guard maintains authority in these areas of certification, and there are steep penalties if an operator and vessel fail to have an approved application and certificate on file.
Penalties could include:
Denial of entry into U.S. ports
Seizure or forfeiture of the vessel
Civil penalties of up to $32,500 per day
There are very few exceptions to the rules for vessels requiring a COFR. Every vessel over 300 tons is required to carry this certificate, and a COFR insurance policy can help smaller companies afford the responsibility of cleanup in the event of an accidental spill. While you will need to contact a local insurance agent for assistance with securing insurance, you are able to fill out an application of COFR online.