Oil Spill Claims


Claims Center Information
Office Hours: 7:00 - 4:00 EST/EDT
Phone: 800-280-7118
Fax: 202-372-8397
Claim Information & Claim Submission Email: hqs-smb-npfc-claimsinfo@uscg.mil


If you have been adversely affected by an oil spill, you may be able to receive compensation. The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) defines the conditions under which you may recover costs and damages. To submit a claim:


  1. Show that the spill meets all OPA requirements. Your claims manager cannot process the rest of your claims package until you have proven that the spill meets these requirements. (The OPA Claims Requirements checklist provides a step-by-step guide to help you decide if a spill qualifies.)

  2. Document your costs and damages from the spill. (See the Types of Claims table below for a list of the kind of claims you can submit.)

  3. Forward your claims package to the National Pollution Funds Center, the Coast Guard office responsible for evaluating and approving OPA claims.

Types of Claims


Claim Type Description Who Can Submit
Natural Resource Damages (NRD)

Costs for:

  • Assessing an area's natural resource damages,
  • Restoring the natural resources, and
  • Compensating the public for the lost use of the affected resources.
Only specially designated natural resource trustees
Removal Costs

Costs to prevent, minimize, mitigate, or clean up an oil spill.

(The costs of cleaning up your own property fall under the category of property damage, not removal costs.)

Clean-up contractors, called Oil Spill Recovery Organizations (OSROs)
Federal, State, and local government entities
The responsible party
Anyone who helped clean up the spill
Property Damage

Injury to or economic loss resulting from destruction of real property (land or buildings) or other personal property.

Does not include personal injury!

People or entities who own or lease the damaged property
Responsible Party: Affirmative Defense or Limit of Liability Defense
  • Affirmative Defense is an assertion that the Responsible Party is not the cause of the incident due to one of three factors: Act of God, Act of War or Sole cause of a Third Party
  • Limit of Liability Defense is asserting the Responsible Party has exceeded their Limit of Liability as defined on their COFR.
Owner or Operator responsible for the pollution incident
Loss of Profits & Earning Capacity

Damages equal to the loss of profits or impairment of earning capacity due to the injury, destruction, or loss of property or natural resources

Anyone with loss of profits or income (You do not have to own the damaged property or resources to submit a claim under this category.)
Loss of Subsistence Use of Natural Resources

Loss of subsistence use claim if natural resources you depend on for subsistence use purposes have been injured, destroyed, or lost by an oil spill incident.

Anyone who, for subsistence use, depends on natural resources that have been injured, destroyed, or lost (You do not have to own or manage the natural resource to submit a claim under this category.)
Loss of Government Revenue

Net loss of taxes, royalties, rents, fees, or net profit shares due to the injury, destruction, or loss of real property, personal property, or natural resources

Federal agencies
Local governments

Increased Public Services

Net costs of providing increased or additional public services during or after removal activities, including protection from fire, safety, or health hazards, caused by a discharge of oil or directly attributable to response to the oil spill incident

Local governments
Deepwater Horizon Spill Claims submitted as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Pollution Incident in the Gulf of Mexico.  

Claims Determinations

NPFC Claim Determinations issued by CY, NRD Determinations and Deepwater Non-NRD Determinations:


Notice: The Decisions made available here are for research and informational purposes only.  Not all documents consist of the final signed version.

Claim Format

There is no required format for claims. You must, however, support your claim with documentation, put the claim in writing, and sign it.

See Forms & Documents for Submitting Claims for more detailed guidance on submiting claims. (You do not need a lawyer to file a claim; you will not be compensated for any attorney's fees if you do use a lawyer to assist in preparing or filing a claim.)