Owners and operators of certain vessels are required to register with the Land Office prior to entering Texas coastal waters.
To protect Texas coastal waters from oil spills related to transportation, the Texas General Land Office Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program works to ensure that all oil-carrying vessels comply with state, federal and international regulations relating to oil spill prevention and response.
The Federal Oil Pollution Act 1990 states tankers and tank barges that carry oil as cargo must have a Vessel Response Plan on board at all times.
International law states all cargo, passenger or other vessels that are greater than 400 gross tons must prepare a Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan.
Owners and operators of vessels covered under these laws are required to register with the Land Office prior to entering Texas coastal waters. To do this, the company must first contact Peggy Spies to obtain an account and password.
The Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program also regulates contingency planning for vessels that have the capacity to carry greater than 10,000 gallons of oil as fuel or cargo, but aren’t covered under federal or international law. These vessels must have a Vessel Response Plan on board at all times, but do not have to submit information to the Land Office.
This includes includes but is not limited to commercial shrimp and fishing boats, tug and tow boats, crew boats, offshore supply boats, public vessels, pilot boats and dredges.
Land Office response officers perform routine checks to ensure each vessel has a plan onboard and its crew is trained in its use. Penalties may be assessed for non-compliance.
The Land Office can provide Vessel Response Plans in English and Spanish that can be used to stay in compliance.
Companies incorporating OSPRA vessels into existing federal response plans should include an addendum indicating that it applies to Texas legislation only. The U.S. Coast Guard will only review or approve the sections of the plan that pertain to federally regulated vessels.