Frequently Asked Questions



Q1. Does the ERTV assessment apply to vessels bound to Canadian ports via the Strait of Juan de Fuca?

The ERTV assessment does not apply to vessels calling only on Canadian ports. This assessment applies only to "covered vessels" arriving at or departing from Washington ports through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, whether direct or indirect (by way of a Canadian port). However, the ERTV is available for hire by or for any vessel in need of assistance within the operating area, regardless of that vessel's destination.

Q2. What is the definition of "covered vessel"?

A covered vessel is defined in Washington State RCW 88.46.010 as "a tank vessel, cargo vessel, or passenger vessel" and, for the application of the new requirement, includes the same vessels required to comply with contingency plan requirements. Cargo and passenger vessels are further defined to be those of 300 or more gross tons.

Q3. Does the new ERTV requirement apply to Grays Harbor?

No. The ERTV requirement applies only to covered vessels calling at Washington ports through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, except for transits extending no further west than Race Rocks light.

Q4. Why is ERTV enrollment necessary?

The enrollment agreement establishes the vessel owner's/operator's commitment to participate in this option for compliance with the Washington State Emergency Response Towing Vessel (ERTV) requirement and to pay assessments accordingly. Alternatively, the owner/operator of a covered vessel to which the new ERTV requirement applies could make other arrangements to have a towing vessel stationed at Neah Bay during the vessel's transits of the Strait of Juan de Fuca (both inbound and outbound), however, the cost of doing so would be prohibitive.

Q5. Is annual enrollment renewal required?

At this time, annual enrollment renewal is not anticipated. Owners/operators or their duly authorized agent/representative may be asked to update vessel information and contact/invoicing information periodically as needed.

Q6. If previously enrolled in ERTV under one spill response plan, does a change to another spill response plan necessitate re-enrollment in ERTV?

At this time, re-enrollment in ERTV is only necessary when vessel ownership/management has changed. A revised Schedule of Vessel Information form is to be resubmitted whenever vessel information, as reported on that form, has changed.

Q7. How is the ERTV assessment calculated?

A. The assessments are calculated differently between the tank vessel sector and the non-tank vessel sector.

B. The tank vessel sector assessments are covered in the "ERTV Tank Vessel Rate Sheet" on the website.

C. The formula for calculating the non-tank vessel assessment is in the document "ERTV Non-Tank Vessel Rate Sheet" on the website. Assuming no credits, the following examples are provided for quick reference:


  DWTRate (.006)        WCD    Rate (.009)   ASSESSMENT
  83000    $498.00    +     19916    $179.24    =      $677
  76465    $458.79    +     22754    $204.79    =      $664
  52447    $314.68    +     16265    $146.39    =      $461
  20741    $124.45    +       8220    $  73.98    =      $198


  DWT    Rate (.006)       WCD    Rate (.009)    ASSESSMENT
  110100    $660.60    +   100039    $900.35    =   $1,561
  92964    $557.78    +     65447    $589.02    =   $1,147
  80596    $483.58    +     51536    $463.82    =      $947
  67272    $403.63    +     47654    $428.89    =      $833
  50703    $304.22    +     55373    $498.36    =      $803
  43401    $260.41    +     34081    $306.73    =      $567
  24683    $148.10    +     25903    $233.13    =      $381
  21291    $127.75    +     23040    $207.36    =      $335  


  DWT     Rate (.006)       WCD    Rate (.009)   ASSESSMENT
  45000    $270.00    +     13083    $117.75     =     $388


  DWT     Rate (.006)       WCD    Rate (.009)   ASSESSMENT
  27835     $167.01     +   18888    $169.99      =     $337

D. Credits were considered in the development of both the tank and non-tank vessel assessment. Credits are given for independent dual propulsion, double hull for tankers, protectively located fuel tanks, and certification under ISO 14001.

E. A non-tank vessel will also pay a first annual entry assessment of $550 (effective July 1, 2017). The year is established to be July 1 through June 30.

F. The minimum assessment for non-tank vessels is $175 per entry (effective July 1, 2013). This will apply mostly to smaller fishing industry vessels and some small passenger vessels as well.

G. For the small "covered" fishing vessels, the assessment for the first annual visit will be $550 (effective July 1, 2017). Subsequent visits in that year will be at the minimum $175 (effective July 1, 2013).

H. Larger fishing industry vessels, any that calculate an assessment greater than the minimum $175, will pay $550 plus the calculated per visit assessment on the first visit and then the calculated per visit assessment on each subsequent visit in that year.

Q8. What are protectively located fuel tanks?

Protectively located fuel tanks for the purpose of the credit given on the ERTV assessment are those fuel tanks that meet the requirements of MARPOL Annex I, Regulation 12A of MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified) Annex 1. There is no simple way to summarize the technical details of this requirement. In essence, the protection requirements oblige the oil fuel tanks to be located inside the vessel away from the bottom and side of the hull. Do not assume the Hull Type indicated either on the Coast Guard's Vessel Response Plan website or in Lloyd's accurately represents the location of the fuel tanks. Check with the vessel owners regarding the particulars of the vessel's MARPOL Annex I certification.

This new Regulation 12A, came into force on 1 August 2007. It sets out the requirements concerning the location of oil fuel tanks in all ships with an aggregate oil fuel capacity of 600m3 and above and which are delivered on or after 1 August 2010. In this context, “ship delivered on or after 1 August 2010” also refers to a ship for which the building contract is placed on or after 1 August 2007 or, in the absence of a contract, its keel is laid on or after 1 February 2008.

The new regulation 12A closes a gap in MARPOL Annex I which, while mandating strict hull standards for tankers of 600 tonnes dwt and above, had not yet addressed the issue of large ships, not necessarily oil tankers, which can carry as much as 5,000m3 of oil fuel, or above, which is more than the cargo carried by some smaller oil tankers.

In time, all ships to which Regulation 12A applies will have the protectively located fuel tanks and this credit toward ERTV assessment will be moot.

Q9. Who calculates the assessment and how am I invoiced?

A. The vessel owner/operator or duly authorized agent/representative is welcome to calculate the assessment in advance; however, the Marine Exchange staff will also calculate the assessment using the formula and give any credits due as discussed in the Schedule of Vessel Information.

B. Effective January 1, 2014, all vessels now see a separate ERTV invoice for ERTV assessments. The ERTV fees are no longer included as a line item on other invoices. This invoice is generated by the Marine Exchange of Puget Sound on behalf of the ERTV.

Q10. Is there a sample letter to demonstrate authorization to sign the enrollment form like there is for WSMC enrollment?

A sample letter has been prepared and is posted on the ERTV site and also on the WSMC site as the sample letter can be used in both cases. Vessels enrolled in WSMC will all have to have the new ERTV coverage as well.

Q11. What is ECOPRO?

Washington State?s voluntary program for the safe and pollution-free operation of tank vessels uses Voluntary Best Achievable Protection (VBAP) and Exceptional Compliance Program (ECOPRO) standards to represent many of the best practices found on tank vessels throughout the world. Companies are invited to demonstrate their efforts to improve safety and protect the environment by joining the State?s voluntary program for tank vessels and developing a VBAP or ECOPRO plan.

Q12. Do I need to sign an agreement for every vessel in our fleet?

No. You only need to sign one agreement for your company. You must complete and submit a Schedule of Vessel Information for each vessel you intend to have covered by this ERTV program. You should may reference to the enrollment agreement previously submitted.

Q13. What constitutes dual propulsion for purposes of the credit?

Dual propulsion is two totally independent main propulsion systems (two engines to two propellers) such that if one propulsion system fails, the other will continue to operate normally. Other than the vessel may then be operating at a reduce speed, the vessel still has sufficient remaining propulsion capability to continue safe navigation of the waterway. Such a vessel may still be subject to operating restrictions as may be imposed by the Captain of the Port.

Reviewed and Updated 7-1-2017

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