33 U.S. Code § 2702 - Elements of liability
prev | next
(a) In general
Notwithstanding any other provision or rule of law, and subject to the provisions of this Act, each responsible party for a vessel or a facility from which oil is discharged, or which poses the substantial threat of a discharge of oil, into or upon the navigable waters or adjoining shorelines or the exclusive economic zone is liable for the removal costs and damages specified in subsection (b) of this section that result from such incident.
(b) Covered removal costs and damages
(1) Removal costs
The removal costs referred to in subsection (a) of this section are—
(A) all removal costs incurred by the United States, a State, or an Indian tribe under subsection (c), (d), (e), or (l) ofsection 1321 of this title, under the Intervention on the High Seas Act (33 U.S.C. 1471 et seq.), or under State law; and
The damages referred to in subsection (a) of this section are the following:
(A) Natural resources
Damages for injury to, destruction of, loss of, or loss of use of, natural resources, including the reasonable costs of assessing the damage, which shall be recoverable by a United States trustee, a State trustee, an Indian tribe trustee, or a foreign trustee.
(B) Real or personal property
Damages for injury to, or economic losses resulting from destruction of, real or personal property, which shall be recoverable by a claimant who owns or leases that property.
(C) Subsistence use
Damages for loss of subsistence use of natural resources, which shall be recoverable by any claimant who so uses natural resources which have been injured, destroyed, or lost, without regard to the ownership or management of the resources.
Damages equal to the net loss of taxes, royalties, rents, fees, or net profit shares due to the injury, destruction, or loss of real property, personal property, or natural resources, which shall be recoverable by the Government of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof.
(E) Profits and earning capacity
Damages equal to the loss of profits or impairment of earning capacity due to the injury, destruction, or loss of real property, personal property, or natural resources, which shall be recoverable by any claimant.
(c) Excluded discharges
This subchapter does not apply to any discharge—
(d) Liability of third parties
(1) In general
(A) Third party treated as responsible party
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), in any case in which a responsible party establishes that a discharge or threat of a discharge and the resulting removal costs and damages were caused solely by an act or omission of one or more third parties described in section 2703 (a)(3) of this title (or solely by such an act or omission in combination with an act of God or an act of war), the third party or parties shall be treated as the responsible party or parties for purposes of determining liability under this subchapter.
(B) Subrogation of responsible party
If the responsible party alleges that the discharge or threat of a discharge was caused solely by an act or omission of a third party, the responsible party—
(i) in accordance with section 2713 of this title, shall pay removal costs and damages to any claimant; and
(2) Limitation applied
(A) Owner or operator of vessel or facility
If the act or omission of a third party that causes an incident occurs in connection with a vessel or facility owned or operated by the third party, the liability of the third party shall be subject to the limits provided in section 2704 of this title as applied with respect to the vessel or facility.
Source(Pub. L. 101–380, title I, § 1002,Aug. 18, 1990, 104 Stat. 489.)
References in Text
This Act, referred to in subsec. (a), is Pub. L. 101–380, Aug. 18, 1990, 104 Stat. 484, as amended, known as the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 2701 of this title and Tables.
The Intervention on the High Seas Act, referred to in subsec. (b)(1)(A), is Pub. L. 93–248, Feb. 5, 1974, 88 Stat. 8, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 28 (§ 1471 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1471 of this title and Tables.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act, referred to in subsec. (c)(3), is title II of Pub. L. 93–153, Nov. 16, 1973, 87 Stat. 584, which is classified generally to chapter 34 (§ 1651 et seq.) of Title 43, Public Lands. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1651 of Title 43 and Tables.