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Tank Vessels

Virginia Tank Vessel Requirements

Tank Vessel [12k]The Virginia Tank Vessel Oil Discharge Contingency Plan and Financial Responsibility Regulation (9VAC25-101 et seq) applies to all tank vessels transporting or transferring oil upon state waters having a maximum storage, handling or transportation capacity of equal to or greater than 15,000 gallons of oil.

Effective July 1, 2004 the operator of any tank vessel subject to the requirements of the Tank Vessel Oil Discharge Plan and Financial Responsibility Regulation (9VAC25-101 et seq.) is able to comply with state law by having an approved U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Financial Responsibility (COFR) and an approved U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Response Plan (VRP). Therefore, if a tank vessel operator has an approved COFR or VRP approval letter from the U.S. Coast Guard, the operator does not have to submit a Tank Vessel Financial Responsibility application (DEQ101-6) or, a Tank Vessel Oil Discharge Contingency Plan application (DEQ101-1) or supporting documents to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

If the operator of a tank vessel entering Virginia waters does not have an approved COFR from the U.S. Coast Guard, they must deposit cash with the state or its equivalent in the amount of $500 per gross ton of such vessel. Tank vessel operators may obtain exemption from the cash deposit if evidence of financial responsibility is provided in an amount equal to the respective cash deposit. The acceptable means of providing such evidence are: self-insurance, insurance, surety or guaranty. Acceptance of evidence of financial responsibility expires one year from the date the department exempts an operator from the cash deposit requirement based on the acceptance of self-insurance.

A tank vessel operator must not cause or permit a tank vessel to transport or transfer oil in Virginia waters unless an oil discharge contingency plan has been approved by the DEQ or a VRP application to the tank vessel has been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. The plan must ensure that the operator can take such steps necessary to protect environmentally sensitive areas, to respond to the threat of an oil discharge and to contain, cleanup and mitigate the discharge within the shortest feasible time. A plan may include multiple vessels and is effective for five years from receipt of a complete application. Though the DEQ may require an oil discharge exercise to demonstrate the operator's ability to implement the plan, the operator will be consulted prior to initiating the exercise.

The requirements of 9VAC25-101 et seq do not include public vessels or vessels engaged only in activities within state waters related to the containment and cleanup of oil, including response-related training or drills. Public vessel means a vessel owned or bareboat-charted and operated by the United States by a state or political subdivision or a foreign nation, except when the vessel is engaged in commerce.

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Oil Spills to Virginia Waters Must be Reported

Tank vessel operators transporting or transferring oil in Virginia state waters remain subject to all relevant requirements. In addition to reporting an oil discharge to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 (U. S. Guard requirements) the operator of a vessel from which there is a discharge of oil to Virginia state waters must immediately upon learning of the discharge, notify DEQ and implement the Vessel Response Plan. State notifications of oil discharges must be made to the appropriate DEQ Regional Office during the hours of 8:15 am to 5:00 pm.  At all other times, notifications must be made to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management at (804) 674-2400 or 1-800-468-8892 (24-hour number). See Reporting A Release for additional information.

If you have any questions concerning tank vessel requirements, please contact John Giese by telephone at (804) 698-4287 or by email at .

Please note:
  • Discharge means any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying or dumping.
  • Oil means petroleum of any kind, including fuel oil, lubricating oil, crude oil, petroleum by-products, sludge, oily wastewater or any oil that causes a film, sheen or discoloration upon the water surface or adjoining shorelines or causes a sludge or emulsion to be deposited beneath the surface of the water or adjoining shorelines.
  • State Waters means all water on the surface or under the ground within the borders of Virginia and within three (3) nautical miles of the Virginia shoreline.
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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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