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Do You Need a COFR?

Does your business need a Certificate of Financial Responsibility? A COFR, which is issued by the NPFC, is a certificate that shows a vessel’s operator is financially responsible according to the requirements set forth by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. According to, you may need one.

Determining if You Need a COFR

If you operate a vessel that weighs more than 300 gross tons and uses United States waters, you must apply for and receive a COFR. Even if your vessel doesn’t weigh that much, you’ll need a COFR if you are transhipping or lightering oil in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. There are some exceptions to the rule: non-self propelled barges not carrying oil and public vessels.

Understanding the Liability Limits

The liability limits required by the COFR rules vary greatly and depend on weight and type of vessel. Typically, an oil cargo tank that is more than 3,000 gross tons and has a single hull must have just under $26 million in liability. Most other vessels require much less, with some requiring less than $1 million in coverage.
Remaining in compliance with the NPFC’s rules regarding certificates of financial responsibility is necessary to prevent serious legal fines or other consequences. Be sure to speak to your insurance provider if you need to learn more about the program or fill out an application.