Why U.S. Waterways Require a COFR


Without the work of the U.S. Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC), there would be a drastic reduction in the accountability measures taken against oil-carrying vessels operating in American waterways. If a spill does occur, the NPFC is called upon to provide funding that supports a quick response, take action to help recover cleanup costs the responsible parties, and pay claimants for the damages or cleanup costs associated with spills. However, in addition to federal efforts, a requirement of holding a valid Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR) was established for all vessels over 300 gross tons. This defrays the cost of cleanup by placing the responsibility with the vessel management.

Vessel Exclusions

As the information on https://www.wqis.com/ states, there are a few exceptions to the COFR regulations. The exceptions are:

  1. Public or non-self-propelled vessels or barges that are not carrying oil as a fuel source
  2. Public or non-self-propelled vessels that are not carrying hazardous substances as its cargo

Working with an insurance company is the best way to satisfy the COFR requirements of NPFC. The insurance company will validate the financial ability of the vessel’s owner or operator to take responsibility for cleanup needs should an incident in the waterways occur. Once the insurance agency provides the guaranty needed, the NPFC will issue the certificate that grants permission to continue through U.S. territory.