Commercial Vessel Compliance

2019 Guidelines for Oil Spill Removal Organization Classification Program

The Office of Marine Environmental Response Policy and the National Strike Force Coordination Center published new guidelines for the Oil Spill Removal Organization classification program.

The major revision in the 2019 guidelines center on realigning the classification program with applicable regulation provisions. The optional acceptable classification program has been replaced by the alternative compliance program and will provide a mechanism for thoroughly reviewing any approved alternatives. The alternative compliance program directly aligns with the regulations and no longer allows waivers or alternatives not supported directly by the regulations. Any deviations from the regulations that plan holders or OSROs believe are acceptable, based on their specific situation, should be processed through the established alternative compliance program.

Real world incidents have shown that this program directly contributes rapid and well-coordinated responses. The OSRO classification does not guarantee performance, nor does the use of a Coast Guard-classified OSRO relieve plan holders of their responsibility to ensure the adequacy of response resources. Plan holders must ensure their contracted OSRO, regardless of classification, is able to meet their planning requirements.

Although participation in the OSRO classification is voluntary, it is critical that participating OSROs ensure their resources are accurately reflected in the Response Resource Inventory (RRI) at all times. The success of the program relies on the real-time capture of OSRO capabilities at their specified OSRO sites, which determines the classifications that plan holders cite in their response plans.

For more information, download the 2019 OSRO guidelines from Homeport.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.