Commercial Vessel Compliance

11/19/2015: Consumer price index adjustments of Oil Pollution Act of 1990 limits of liability – Vessels, deepwater ports and onshore facilities

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The Coast Guard published a final rule increasing the limits of liability for vessels, deepwater ports and onshore facilities, under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, as amended, or OPA 90, to reflect significant increases in the Consumer Price Index, or CPI.

This final rule also establishes a simplified regulatory procedure for the Coast Guard to make future required periodic CPI increases to these OPA 90 limits of liability. These regulatory inflation increases to the limits of liability are required by OPA 90 and are necessary to preserve the deterrent effect and “polluter pays” principle embodied in OPA 90.

In addition, this final rule clarifies applicability of the OPA 90 vessel limits of liability to edible oil cargo tank vessels and tank vessels designated as oil spill response vessels. This clarification to the prior regulatory text is needed for consistency with OPA 90.

Finally, this rule makes several non-substantive clarifying and editorial revisions to the regulatory text. This rulemaking promotes the Coast Guard’s missions of maritime safety and maritime stewardship.

The final rule is effective December 21, 2015.

View the final rule for full details.

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