Buzzards Bay Vessel Transit Requirements

State laws and regulations (MGL Chapter 21M, s.9 and 314 CMR 19.00) governing vessels carrying more than 6,000 gallons of oil in Buzzards Bay.

Chapter 251, Acts of 2004, "An Act Relative to Oil Spill Prevention and Response in Buzzards Bay and Other Harbors and Bays of the Commonwealth" (the "Oil Spill Act" or "Act"), was signed into law by Governor Romney on August 4, 2004. The Act went into effect immediately as an emergency law. An electronic version of the Act is found at The Act was amended by Chapter 268 of the Acts of 2008 and Chapter 101 of the Acts of 2009.

MOSPRA Requirements Reinstated for Buzzards Bay

This fact sheet has been prepared by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to provide guidance on the status of the Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention Act (MOSPA), M.G.L. c. 21M, ss. 1, 4, 6, 9, and its regulations, 314 CMR 19.00, in light of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit's decision to lift the injunction that had prevented MassDEP from implementing and enforcing MOSPA's manning (M.G.L. c. 21M, s. 4) and Tugboat Escort (M.G.L. c. 21M, s. 6) requirements in Buzzards Bay.

This fact sheet also provides guidance on how the lifting of the injunction effects MOSPA's voluntary 24-hour advance notice, State-funded Pilot, and State-provided Tugboat Escort programs (M.G.L. c. 21M, s. 9).

As of July 12, 2011, MOSPA's manning and Tugboat Escort requirements are back in effect.

Additional Resources

Tugboat Escort Requirements

This fact sheet provides guidance on the requirements in the Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention Act (MOSPA), M.G.L. c. 21M, ss. 1, 6, and its regulations, 314 CMR 19.00, that govern Tugboat Escort services in certain Massachusetts waters, including Buzzards Bay.

On July 12, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit lifted an injunction, which had prevented Massachusetts from implementing and enforcing MOSPA's Tugboat Escort requirements for tank vessels operating in Buzzards Bay. As a result, the Massachusetts Tugboat Escort requirements described in the Fact Sheet (below) are in effect as of July 12, 2011.

Additional Resources

Uniform Oil Response and Prevention Fee

Section 8 of the new Chapter 21M requires the establishment of an "Oil Spill Prevention and Response Trust Fund" (the "Fund"), to be administered by DEP, and directs the Commissioner of DEP to set a "Uniform Oil Spill Response and Prevention Fee", as described in the Fact Sheet (below).

As of April, 2010, the fee is set at 5 cents/gallon.

Additional Resources

Financial Assurance

For vessels in or entering Massachusetts waters for the purpose of transporting, discharging or receiving a cargo of oil, hazardous material, or hazardous waste, you need to:

  • Provide a certificate of financial assurance to DEP in the amount of at least 1 billion dollars.  Vessels with a capacity of less than 6,000 barrels are required to provide a certificate in the amount of 5 million dollars.  A certificate of financial assurance must be demonstrated by evidence of insurance, surety bond, letter of credit, qualifications as a self-insurer or any combination thereof, or by other evidence of financial assurance approved by DEP.  The Act also creates an incentive to use double hull vessels and/or maintain a good safety record and safety equipment by authorizing DEP to allow financial assurance in a lower amount based on these types of criteria.
  • The required certificate must be sent to DEP at the following address:
    Tim Cahill
    Department of Environmental Protection
    One Winter Street, 3rd Floor
    Boston, MA 02108
  • Post a copy of the financial assurance certificate on the vessel.

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