33 CFR 138.30 - General.

§ 138.30 General.
(a) The regulations in this subpart set forth the procedures for an operator of a vessel subject to this subpart to demonstrate that the responsible parties of the vessel are financially able to meet their potential liability for costs and damages in the applicable amounts set forth in this subpart at § 138.80(f). Although the owners, operators, and demise charterers of a vessel are strictly, jointly and severally liable under OPA 90 and CERCLA for the costs and damages resulting from each incident or release or threatened release, together they need only establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility under this subpart equal to the combined OPA 90 and CERCLA limits of liability arising from a single incident and a single release, or threatened release. Only that portion of the total applicable amount of financial responsibility demonstrated under this subpart with respect to—
(1) OPA 90 is required to be made available by a vessel's responsible parties and guarantors for the costs and damages related to an incident where there is not also a release or threatened release; and
(2) CERCLA is required to be made available by a vessel's responsible parties and guarantors for the costs and damages related to a release or threatened release where there is not also an incident. A guarantor (or a self-insurer for whom the exceptions to limitations of liability are not applicable), therefore, is not required to apply the entire total applicable amount of financial responsibility demonstrated under this subpart to an incident involving oil alone or a release or threatened release involving a hazardous substance alone.
(b) Where a vessel is operated by its owner or demise charterer, or the owner or demise charterer is responsible for its operation, the owner or demise charterer is considered to be the operator for purposes of this subpart, and must submit the Application and requests for renewal for a Certificate. In all other cases, the vessel operator must submit the Application or requests for renewal.
(c) For a United States-flag vessel, the applicable gross tons or gross tonnage, as referred to in this part, is determined as follows:
(1) For a documented U.S. vessel measured under both 46 U.S.C. Chapters 143 (Convention Measurement) and 145 (Regulatory Measurement). The vessel's regulatory gross tonnage is used to determine whether the vessel exceeds 300 gross tons where that threshold applies under the Acts. If the vessel's regulatory gross tonnage is determined under the Dual Measurement System in 46 CFR part 69, subpart D, the higher gross tonnage is the regulatory gross tonnage for the purposes of determining whether the vessel meets the 300 gross ton threshold. The vessel's gross tonnage as measured under the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969 (Convention), is used to determine the vessel's required applicable amounts of financial responsibility, and limit of liability under Section 1004 of OPA 90 (33 U.S.C. 2704), including subpart B of this part, and Section 107 of CERCLA (42 U.S.C. 9607).
(2) For all other United States vessels. The vessel's gross tonnage under 46 CFR part 69 is used for determining the vessel's 300 gross ton threshold, the required applicable amounts of financial responsibility, and limits of liability under Section 1004 of OPA 90 (33 U.S.C. 2704), including subpart B of this part, and Section 107 of CERCLA (42 U.S.C. 9607). If the vessel's gross tonnage is determined under the Dual Measurement System, the higher gross tonnage is used in all determinations.
(d) For a vessel of a foreign country that is a party to the Convention, gross tons or gross tonnage, as referred to in this part, is determined as follows:
(1) For a vessel assigned, or presently required to be assigned, gross tonnage under Annex I of the Convention. The vessel's gross tonnage as measured under Annex I of the Convention is used for determining the 300 gross ton threshold, if applicable, the required applicable amounts of financial responsibility, and limits of liability under Section 1004(a) of OPA 90 (33 U.S.C. 2704), including subpart B of this part, and under Section 107 of CERCLA (42 U.S.C. 9607).
(2) For a vessel not presently required to be assigned gross tonnage under Annex I of the Convention. The highest gross tonnage that appears on the vessel's U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation or equivalent document and that is acceptable to the Coast Guard under 46 U.S.C. chapter 143 is used for determining the 300 gross ton threshold, if applicable, the required applicable amounts of financial responsibility, and limits of liability under Section 1004 of OPA 90 (33 U.S.C. 2704), including subpart B of this part, and Section 107 of CERCLA (42 U.S.C. 9607). If the vessel has no document, or the gross tonnage appearing on the document is not acceptable under 46 U.S.C. chapter 143, the vessel's gross tonnage is determined by applying the Convention Measurement System under 46 CFR part 69, subpart B, or if applicable, the Simplified Measurement System under 46 CFR part 69, subpart E. The measurement standards applied are subject to applicable international agreements to which the United States Government is a party.
(e) For a vessel of a foreign country that is not a party to the Convention, gross tons or gross tonnage, as referred to in this part, is determined as follows:
(1) For a vessel measured under laws and regulations found by the Commandant to be similar to Annex I of the Convention. The vessel's gross tonnage under the similar laws and regulations is used for determining the 300 gross ton threshold, if applicable, the required applicable amounts of financial responsibility, and limits of liability under Section 1004 of OPA 90 (33 U.S.C. 2704), including subpart B of this part, and Section 107 of CERCLA (42 U.S.C. 9607). The measurement standards applied are subject to applicable international agreements to which the United States Government is a party.
(2) For a vessel not measured under laws and regulations found by the Commandant to be similar to Annex I of the Convention. The vessel's gross tonnage under 46 CFR part 69, subpart B, or, if applicable, subpart E, is used for determining the 300 gross ton threshold, if applicable, the required applicable amount of financial responsibility, and the limits of liability under Section 1004 of OPA 90 (33 U.S.C. 2704), including subpart B of this part, and Section 107 of CERCLA (42 U.S.C. 9607). The measurement standards applied are subject to applicable international agreements to which the United States is a party.
(f) A person who agrees to act as a guarantor or a self-insurer is bound by the vessel's gross tonnage as determined under paragraphs (c), (d), or (e) of this section, regardless of what gross tonnage is specified in an Application or guaranty form submitted under this subpart. Guarantors, however, may limit their liability under a guaranty of financial responsibility to the applicable gross tonnage appearing on a vessel's International Tonnage Certificate or other official, applicable certificate of measurement and will not incur any greater liability with respect to that guaranty, except when the guarantors knew or should have known that the applicable tonnage certificate was incorrect.

Title 33 published on 2013-07-01

no entries appear in the Federal Register after this date.

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.


United States Code
Presidential Documents

Executive Order ... 12580

Executive Order ... 12777

Executive Order ... 13286

Title 33 published on 2013-07-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 33 CFR 138 after this date.

  • 2014-08-19; vol. 79 # 160 - Tuesday, August 19, 2014
    1. 79 FR 49206 - Consumer Price Index Adjustments of Oil Pollution Act of 1990 Limits of Liability—Vessels, Deepwater Ports and Onshore Facilities
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, Coast Guard
      Notice of proposed rulemaking.
      Comments and related material must be submitted on or before October 20, 2014.
      33 CFR Parts 138, Subpart B