Circular No. 10/99 - Recent Californian Legislation Regarding Dry Cargo Ships







Dear Member:


Recent Californian Legislation Regarding Dry Cargo Ships

Reference is made to Circular No. 4/99 of January 29, 1999 which drew the attention of Members who trade in Californian waters to a new State law (California S.B. 1644) which came into force on January 1, 1999 and which was intended for implementation as of September 1, 1999.

This deadline for non-tank vessels of 300 gross tons or more operating in the marine waters of California being required to have oil spill contingency plans and certificates of financial responsibility (COFRs) has been postponed. The new implementation date will be 30 days after final regulations are approved – an event which has not to date occurred. However, it is unlikely that the delay will be long.

A COFR should be obtained from the California Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) before the arrangement of a vessel contingency plan. Members requiring a COFR are urged to do so as soon as possible. Application forms can be obtained from:



  • The California Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) by contacting Ms. Cheryl Mitchell as follows:

Telephone: + 1 916 324 6257

Telefax: + 1 916 323 4727

The Internet at:

In the meantime we attach as Appendix I a preliminary format for the relevant application form. As will be seen from the comments in italic at the head of the document, this is not the final version, although no changes are expected when then the regulations ultimately come into effect.

The completed application forms should be returned to OSPR, together with a copy of the Member’s Certificate of Entry. A fee of U.S. $100 per vessel will be charged – this can be sent by wire transfer. On receipt of all necessary documentation and the fee, OSPR will issue an interim COFR. A final COFR will be issued later. It should be noted that a COFR must be obtained prior to the submission of a contingency plan since it is a requirement that the COFR number be inserted in the plan itself.

Current circumstances are summarized in the letter of August 5, 1999 from the State of California Department of Fish and Game attached as Appendix II. So far as contingency plans are concerned, the Club is currently in discussion with appropriately qualified parties who will be prepared to assist Members in the drafting of plans and be nominated on their behalf as QI, Spill Manager or OSRO as the case may be. Further details of these intended arrangements will be communicated to Members in the near future. In the meantime, Members intending to avail themselves of this facility sponsored by the Club are urged to complete as much as possible of the questionnaire attached as Appendix III, the information derived from which will be used by the appropriate parties to complete plans tailored to individual Members’ needs. It will be noted that its questions conform to those requiring an answer in terms of the appended COFR application form.

Once again, further details of the arrangements made will be notified soon. In the meantime, Members should also be aware that, notwithstanding the existence of this facility, they remain at liberty to use different parties for the provision of relevant services.

However, it should be remembered that some contracts contain onerous terms which could prejudice cover. In this connection, reference is made to Circular No. 13/97 of November 26, 1997 which summarized the status of the then extant range of contracts so far as their acceptability to the International Group of P&I Clubs was concerned. Before entering into independent arrangements with QIs, Spill Managers or OSROs as a requirement for the completion of a contingency plan, Members are advised to check with the Club as to whether or not any particular contract has

A further communication on the status of the initiative described above will follow shortly. In the meantime, the Managers will be pleased to respond to any questions Members may have.

Yours faithfully,
Joseph E.M. Hughes, Chairman & CEO
Shipowners Claims Bureau, Inc., Managers for








The following information and documentation will be necessary for the completion of required documentation under the new California regulations:


Vessel Name

Vessel Type (eg. general cargo, container, bulk carrier, reefer etc.)
Hull Type (eg. single, double, double bottom, double sides etc.)
Classification Society
Official Number
Lloyd’s ID Number
Radio Call Sign
Gross Tonnage
Total Bunker Capacity
Capacity of Largest Bunker Tank
Type of Bunker


California COFR (when received)
Safety Management Certificate (if applicable)
SOPEP Approval Letter
Bunker Tank(s) Arrangement
Fuel Transfer Procedures
Transmittal Preface


Operator: Name/Address/Phone/Telefax
Owner: Name/Address/Phone/Telefax
Cognizant Person: *Address/Phone/Telefax
Salvage & Firefighting: ** Name/Address/Phone/Telefax

* Person receiving correspondence (optional name to be advised in due course).
** Optional name to be advised in due course.