Washington State

 Maritime Cooperative


Washington State Maritime Cooperative

Created in 1995 to replace the Washington State Maritime Commission, WSMC was incorporated to:

A. Maintain an oil spill emergency response system that will:

     1. provide a mandatory emergency response communications network for enrolled and thereby covered vessels involved in commerce in Washington waters (except the waters of the Columbia and Snake Rivers);

     2. in the event of an oil spill or threatened oil spill, provide a response immediately after the initial report, which may include, but not be limited to, as needed, response vessels, boom equipment, skimmers, qualified personnel, and wildlife centers.

B. Enroll and assess vessels transiting the waters of the state which desire contingency plan coverage to meet Washington State Law, to collect such assessments, and report violations of the provisions of R.C.W., Chapter 88.46.060.

WA Maritime Cooperative

C. Enter into contracts with cleanup contractors to provide spill response, or with other organizations or companies for communication services.

D. Recover oil spill response system costs from a responsible vessel owner or operator in the event of a spill or threatened release.

E. Hold response readiness drills with state and federal agencies.

F. Work with other states' and countries' maritime organizations, cleanup cooperatives, and governmental response agencies.

G. Maintain an oil spill contingency plan to provide for a response to an oil spill that complies with state statutes and rules for those vessels covered by WSMC.

The Washington State Maritime Cooperative maintains a constant state of readiness to respond to any oil spill or potential oil spill from a WSMC covered vessel. Upon notification, concerning a covered vessel, WSMC will initiate the following action for the responsible party (spiller):

  • Activate WSMC Oil Spill Response Contingency Plan
  • Dispatch / direct qualified response contractor(s) with appropriate vessels, equipment and personnel.
  • Notify Washington EMD / Ecology (automatic, unless requested not to do so by the Responsible Party)
  • Notify U.S. Coast Guard NRC (only if assistance is requested by the Responsible Party)
  • Activate WSMC response management organization (team)
  • Manage spill response, per action plan and consistent with the Northwest Area Contingency Plan (NWACP).

Although the responsible party must ultimately pay for the WSMC spill specific services, WSMC financial resources limit a WSMC led response to the first 24 hours. Thus, within the first 24-hours after the spill occurs, the responsible party (spiller) is expected to assume full responsibility to direct (continue) the recovery / clean up operation, under the contingency plan promulgated by WSMC, and subject to federal (USCG) and / or state (Ecology) oversight. This specifically includes providing a spill response management organization (Spill Management Team) and cleanup resources to complete the spill recovery / cleanup operations.

WSMC will work with the spiller to ensure a smooth transition for spill management is accomplished within the first 24 hours. WSMC will continue beyond 24 hours as necessary to accomplish that transition provided progress is being made and the delay will be minimal. If the responsible party is not acting to assume direct spill management, then WSMC will work with the FOSC and SOSC to prepare for a federal assumption of the response.


For covered vessels operating within the navigable waters of Washington state, except for Columbia and Snake rivers, WSMC will initiate spill response and management control to ensure both a timely and adequate response. Within the first 24 hours, the responsible party is to assume direct management and financial responsibility for recovery / cleanup operations. WSMC will pass spill management responsibilities to the responsible party (spiller).


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