News 17 Jul, 2009

Increases in limits of liability under OPA 90

The United States Coast Guard have recently announced that the limits of liability under OPA ’90 will be increased with effect from 31 July, 2009. The revised limits are as follows:

Type Previous Limit New Limit
  Greater of: Greater of:
Single hulled oil tank cargo vessel
≤ 3,000 gt.
$3,000 per gt. or
$6,000,000
$3,200 per gt. or
$6,408,000
Single hulled oil tank cargo vessel
> 3,000 gt.
$3,000 per gt. or
$22,000,000
$3,200 per gt. or
$23,496,000
Double hulled oil tank cargo vessel
≤ 3,000 gt.
$1,900 per gt. or
$4,000,000
$2,000 per gt. or
$4,272,000
Double hulled oil tank cargo vessel
> 3,000 gt.
$1900 per gt. or
$16,000,000
$2,000 per gt. or
$17,088,000
All other vessels $950 per gt. or
$800,000
$1,000 per gt. or
$854,400


The revised limits are intended to reflect increases in inflation since the last revision in 2006 and to “preserve the deterrent effect and polluter-pays principle embodied in [OPA ‘90]”.

Owners/operators have 90 days from the inception of the revised limits in which to establish evidence of financial responsibility at least equal to the new limits. Members are consequently advised to review their COFR arrangements no later than 90 days after the effective date for the new limits of 31 July 2009.