USCG Proposes Liability Increase for Vessels and Deepwater Ports

The U.S. Coast Guard recently announced that it is seeking comments by Monday, October 20 on its proposal to (1) increase Oil Pollution Act (OPA) liability limits for vessels, deepwater ports, and onshore facilities to reflect inflationary changes; (2) use a simplified regulatory procedure for future inflation-related adjustments; and (3) clarify applicability of OPA vessel liability to edible oil cargo tank vessels and tank vessels designated as oil spill response vessels.

The notice states that the inflation-related adjustments are required under OPA and are “necessary to preserve the deterrent effect and ‘polluter pays’ principle embodied” by in the legislation.  It further adds that the clarification for vessel applicability is needed for consistency with OPA.