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Spills photo identifier

Spills Program

Financial Responsibility

Washington state is among those states with unlimited liability in the event of oil spilled from a vessel, pipeline or facility. This allows Washington state and third-party claimants to recover cleanup costs and damages beyond federal limits of liability that have been set at various levels for different types of vessels and facilities.

“Financial responsibility” refers to the proof or demonstration that a responsible party is able to pay for the costs and damages of a spill up to a specified amount. Typically, financial responsibility is evidenced by an insurance policy or P&I club documents but also may involve surety bonds, guarantees, letters of credit, or qualification for self-insurance.

Washington has financial responsibility requirements based on type of vessel and total capacity for storage or transfer of product. Washington does not have its own certification program for financial responsibility, but rather relies on federal and other states’ programs to certify vessels for financial responsibility. There is currently no program to certify financial responsibility for onshore oil handling facilities.

See the following links for more information on Washington’s requirements for:

Washington is a member of the Pacific States/ British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force which has compiled comparative summary of West Coast Spill Financial Responsibility Requirements.


Vessel Technical Assistance

Class 1 Facilities

Mobile Facilities
(Class 2)

Class 3 Facilities

Marinas & Small
Fueling Facilities
(Class 4)

Tips for Boaters &

SPCC Aboveground
Storage Tanks

Ballast Water

Primary Response

Contingency Plans

State Approved Contingency Plans

Spill Drills

ANT System

Western Response
Resource List

VBAP & EcoPro

VEAT Counts