WQIS Prepared for COFR Limit Increase

Sunday, January 18, 2009

On July 11, 2006 the President signed into law Title VI of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006, which increased the limits of liability for vessels under OPA 90. It also split the tank vessel category into single and double hulls with single hulls having higher limits. Those limits went into effect in 2006. However, the requirement for evidence of financial responsibility required to obtain a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR) was not increased at that point. Meaning, existing COFRs remained valid.

By a notice in the Federal Register/Vol. 73, No.181/Wednesday, September 17, 2008 the Coast Guard promulgated regulations implementing the new COFR regulations to take effect from January 15, 2009. As of that date, the financial guaranty or insurance to the U.S. Coast Guard must meet or exceed the 2006 revised COFR limits.

Limits have changed as follows:

Double hulled tank vessels, over 3,000 Gross Tons:
Old limits-the greater of $1,200 per gross ton or $10,000,000
New limits-the greater of $1,900 per gross ton or $16,000,000

Double hulled tank vessels, 3,000 or less gross tons:
Old limits-the greater of $1,200 per gross ton or $2,000,000
New limits-the greater of $1,900 per gross ton or $4,000,000

Singe hulled tank vessels, over 3,000 gross tons:
Old limits-The greater of $1,200 per gross ton or $10,000,000
New limits-the greater of $3,000 per gross ton or $22,000,000

Singe hulled tank vessels, 3,000 or less gross tons:
Old limits-the greater of $1,200 per gross ton or $2,000,000
New limits-the greater of $3,000 per gross ton or $6,000,000

Non-tank vessels:
Old limits-the greater of $600 per gross ton or $500,000
New limits-the greater of $950 per gross ton or $800,000

*Includes single hull, double sides only or double bottom only.

Anticipating these changes, Water Quality Insurance Syndicate (WQIS) has already re-filed its financial responsibility (CG 5586 and or CG 5586-1) with the Vessel Certification Branch of the USCG National Pollution Funds Center on behalf of all WQIS assureds for which evidence is currently provided. The only exceptions are assureds who have not purchased limits that are equal to or greater than the new limits shown above. In the event a WQIS assured has not yet obtained the sufficient limit to fulfill the requirements of Title VI, please contact your WQIS underwriter immediately.

WQIS is a U.S.-based underwriter of pollution liability insurance for marine vessels. With over 37 years in the industry, no one has more marine pollution insurance and spill response expertise, or offers more innovative coverage to the marine community. WQIS is dedicated to providing the broadest coverage and creating the most responsive organization to serve the needs of their clients.

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