Ecology believes spill prevention is the only way to achieve zero spills to water. Inspections are conducted to ensure pollution prevention policies and procedures are in place, accepted industry standards are being met, and ship crews and equipment are working safely and properly. They fill a critical role in ensuring marine safety and protection for Washington waters. Ecology works with the United States Coast Guard and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in support of our joint goal to prevent oil spills, as well as with industry to develop accepted industry standards. These standards, based on international conventions and federal regulations, identify best marine practices. All of these cooperative efforts have decreased oil spills from commercial vessels over the past two decades.
A "tank vessel" is defined as any ship that is constructed or adapted to carry, or that carries, oil in bulk as cargo or cargo residue [RCW 88.46.010(20)].
"Cargo vessel" means a self-propelled ship in commerce, other than a tank vessel or a passenger vessel, of three hundred or more gross tons, including but not limited to, commercial fish processing vessels and freighters [RCW 88.46.010(3)]. Passenger vessel means a ship of three hundred or more gross tons with a fuel capacity of at least six thousand gallons carrying passengers for compensation [ RCW 88.46.010(16)].
Washington rules for oil transfers can be found in vessel oil transfer advanced notice of transfer and containment requirements, WAC Chapter 174-184.
These requirements apply to all bunkering operations to refuel a self-propelled covered vessel 300 gross tons or more, and to all owners, operators, persons-in-charge, and other personnel involved in bunkering in State waters. The following documents will assist you in complying with Washington's procedures for safe bunkering.
Produced by the Pacific State/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, this Bunkering Best Management Practices video focuses on bunkering procedures and can be used to educate vessel crews on best bunkering practices. (Length: Approximately 15 minutes)
Vessel operators must notify Ecology via Washington's Division of Emergency Management within one hour of experiencing a vessel emergency that either results in a discharge or poses a substantial threat of discharge of oil. The purpose of this notification is to allow federal, state and industry partners to coordinate efforts and ensure that reasonable spill preparedness and response measures can be pre-identified, staged, or mobilized prior to a spill occurring.
View an interactive map of
oil transfers in Washington.
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