Accidents happen. Accidents when transporting oil and other chemicals can have disastrous consequences for wildlife and natural habitats. In the US, the certificate of financial responsibility, or US COFR, is designed to ensure quick and proper cleanup of any spills by the appropriate parties.

What is the COFR?

The COFR was first established in 1990 as part of the Oil Pollution Act. It ensures that the companies who own tankers and other ships transporting oil are responsible for cleanup costs should a spill ensue. The US Coast Guard’s Vessel Certification Division administers the program.

To receive a COFR, vessel operators must prove they are financially sound enough to pay any cleanup costs and cover damages following a spill. Those who can’t cover expenses are not allowed to transport such hazardous materials.

Who Must Comply With the COFR?

With few exceptions, any ship that wishes to transport hazardous chemicals in US waters must comply with the regulations. Those who don’t can suffer acute penalties, including refusal of entry, detainment, seizure of the offending vessel, and as much as $32,500 in fines each day.

The ocean is a vital part of the world’s ecosystem. The US COFR is a critical program to dissuade people from inflicting damage to it.