About Us


Following the foundation of the MFSA, a timeline of events and establishments brought the MFSA to what it is today.  In 1984 the Lower Columbia Maritime Fire Safety Plan was developed, followed by the formation of the Fire Protection Agencies Advisory Council (FPAAC) in 1986. 


FPAAC was formed to set forth a comprehensive system to ensure effective response shipboard fires in the Lower Columbia Region, and then purchased and delivered the first specialized equipment to participating fire agencies for fighting shipboard fires.  The FPAAC is currently comprised of 13 fire agencies located throughout the river system.  These agencies voluntarily contribute both staff time and equipment costs for participation in meetings, drills and other training exercises.  Realizing the importance of maintaining a stable funding source, the MFSA Membership approved a per vessel assessment, which is collected from all ocean-going vessels that call at a member's dock.  This funding goes towards the purchase of specialized marine firefighting equipment and provides for the ongoing training and education of member fire agencies in the response to vessel emergencies.  Then in 1991, the Lower Columbia Maritime Fire Safety Plan was revised to include oil spill response and preparedness which brought the development of MFSA Umbrella Oil Spill Contingency Plan (now the MFSA Vessel Response Plan or “the Plan”) in the beginning of 1991. 


In 1992, MFSA and Clean Rivers Cooperative, Inc. (CRC) signed a memorandum of agreement allowing MFSA to designate CRC response equipment and resources in the Plan.  CRC serves as the state approved Primary Response Contractor (PRC) to MFSA and provides oil spill coverage for its own membership's facility response plans in addition to the vessels MFSA provides coverage.  The contingency plan received approval from Oregon DEQ and the Washington Office of Marine Safety in 1993.


The Plan's area of coverage consists of the Columbia River from its mouth (at river mile 0) extending 3 miles into the Pacific Ocean, up to the Glenn Jackson Bridge at I-205 (river mile 113) and the Willamette River from its confluence with the Columbia River up to Willamette Falls.


When the Plan was developed for vessels transiting the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, the Columbia River Steamship Operators Association (CRSOA) Membership agreed to pay a per vessel assessment to MFSA collected from vessels calling the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, to be covered by this Plan.  These funds go towards the purchase of the oil spill response equipment, training of personnel, payment of dedicated spill response contractors, and program administration.


Individually, each association serves its own distinct purpose, yet when brought together the MFSA, CRSOA, and CRC provide for enhanced response and preparedness efforts that exceed regulatory expectations along the river system.  These associations are managed through The Merchants Exchange of Portland, Oregon, with staff, accounting services, office space, etc., provided through contracts that are executed annually. This partnership among industry associations in combination with State and Federal agencies insures a comprehensive regional response.