What to do in the case of an oil spill
- Report the incident
- Provide all reasonable cooperation and assistance requested by a government official in connection with removal activities
- Comply with a clean-up order issued by an appropriate governmental official
- Seek legal council if you have questions about your rights
A responsible party should expect investigations from many sources—both state and federal.
In the event of a marine casualty, the USCG investigates to determine the cause of the accident. The USCG may also conduct a personnel investigation to determine whether a U.S. licensed individual contributed to the accident.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) may investigate a major marine casualty in the case of loss of 6 or more lives; loss of vessel of 100 or more gross tons; $500,000 or more of property damage; or serious threat to life, property, or the environment due to a spill. The NTSB attempts to determine the probable cause and issues a report of that determination.
These other government agencies may also investigate oil spills:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Flag states
- State and local agencies, including police, the local district attorney and the attorney general.
- Responsible party internal investigations, including National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) investigations.