33 U.S. Code § 2704 - Limits on liability
For purposes of determining the responsible party and applying this Act and except as provided in paragraph (2), a mobile offshore drilling unit which is being used as an offshore facility is deemed to be a tank vessel with respect to the discharge, or the substantial threat of a discharge, of oil on or above the surface of the water.
To the extent that removal costs and damages from any incident described in paragraph (1) exceed the amount for which a responsible party is liable (as that amount may be limited under subsection (a)(1) of this section), the mobile offshore drilling unit is deemed to be an offshore facility. For purposes of applying subsection (a)(3) of this section, the amount specified in that subsection shall be reduced by the amount for which the responsible party is liable under paragraph (1).
Notwithstanding the limitations established under subsection (a) of this section and the defenses of section 2703 of this title, all removal costs incurred by the United States Government or any State or local official or agency in connection with a discharge or substantial threat of a discharge of oil from any Outer Continental Shelf facility or a vessel carrying oil as cargo from such a facility shall be borne by the owner or operator of such facility or vessel.
Subject to paragraph (2), the President may establish by regulation, with respect to any class or category of onshore facility, a limit of liability under this section of less than $350,000,000, but not less than $8,000,000, taking into account size, storage capacity, oil throughput, proximity to sensitive areas, type of oil handled, history of discharges, and other factors relevant to risks posed by the class or category of facility.
The Secretary shall conduct a study of the relative operational and environmental risks posed by the transportation of oil by vessel to deepwater ports (as defined in section 1502 of this title) versus the transportation of oil by vessel to other ports. The study shall include a review and analysis of offshore lightering practices used in connection with that transportation, an analysis of the volume of oil transported by vessel using those practices, and an analysis of the frequency and volume of oil discharges which occur in connection with the use of those practices.
Not later than 1 year after August 18, 1990, the Secretary shall submit to the Congress a report on the results of the study conducted under subparagraph (A).
If the Secretary determines, based on the results of the study conducted under this  subparagraph (A), that the use of deepwater ports in connection with the transportation of oil by vessel results in a lower operational or environmental risk than the use of other ports, the Secretary shall initiate, not later than the 180th day following the date of submission of the report to the Congress under subparagraph (B), a rulemaking proceeding to lower the limits of liability under this section for deepwater ports as the Secretary determines appropriate. The Secretary may establish a limit of liability of less than $350,000,000, but not less than $50,000,000, in accordance with paragraph (1).
The President shall, within 6 months after August 18, 1990, and from time to time thereafter, report to the Congress on the desirability of adjusting the limits of liability specified in subsection (a) of this section.
 So in original. The word “this” probably should not appear.
This Act, referred to in subsec. (b)(1), 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. (c)(2)(C), 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.
2010—Subsec. (a)(2). Pub. L. 111–281, § 903(e)(1), struck out first comma after “$800,000”.
2006—Subsec. (a)(1)(A) to (C). Pub. L. 109–241, § 603(a)(1), added subpars. (A) to (C) and struck out former subpars. (A) and (B), which read as follows:
“(A) $1,200 per gross ton; or
“(B)(i) in the case of a vessel greater than 3,000 gross tons, $10,000,000; or
“(ii) in the case of a vessel of 3,000 gross tons or less, $2,000,000;”.
Subsec. (d)(4). Pub. L. 109–241, § 603(b), amended heading and text of par. (4) generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “The President shall, by regulations issued not less often than every 3 years, adjust the limits of liability specified in subsection (a) of this section to reflect significant increases in the Consumer Price Index.”
1998—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 105–383, § 406(1), substituted comma for “(except a tank vessel on which the only oil carried as cargo is an animal fat or vegetable oil, as those terms are used in section 2720 of this title)” after “tank vessel”.
Subsec. (c)(4). Pub. L. 105–383, § 406(2), added par. (4).
1995—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 104–55 substituted “for a tank vessel (except a tank vessel on which the only oil carried as cargo is an animal fat or vegetable oil, as those terms are used in section 2720 of this title)” for “for a tank vessel,”.
For delegation of functions of President under subsec. (d) of this section, see section 4 of Ex. Ord. No. 12777, set out as a note under section 1321 of this title.
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