Vessel identification numbers


A vessel is defined as a waterborne fuel transporting vessel. Any person that operates a vessel within the bulk transfer/terminal system, excluding deep draft ocean-going vessels is considered a vessel operator.

As referenced in the Form 720-TO/CS Instructions and IRS Publication 3536, Rev. 3-2010, the Vessel Official Number (VON) is either: (a) an International Maritime Organization (IMO) number, assigned by IHS Fairplay on behalf of the International Maritime Organization or (b) a Vessel Identification Number (VIN) assigned by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). If a vessel has both an IMO number and a USCG VIN, either may be provided to ExSTARS. The N104 data element as defined in Publication 3536 for supplying the VON is a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 9 alpha-numeric characters.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) number consists of the letters "IMO" followed by a unique, seven-digit number: the pattern is "NNNNNNN", where N is a single-digit number, e.g., "1234567". Report only the numbers following the letters IMO. Please follow the submission criteria below entitled NUMERICS ONLY when submitting an IMO number as the vessel number to ExSTARS. IMO numbers may be searched at the Equasis website (registration required – no charge).

As defined by the USCG, Vessel Identification Numbers are 6 to 8 characters long and may contain all digits, or begin with 1 or 2 letters (A-Z) followed by 6 or 7 digits. USCG VINs may be searched at the United States Coast Guard Maritime Information Exchange website.

In your ExSTARS submission, if the USCG VIN is only numeric, report that number using the NUMERICS criteria below. If the VIN is an alpha/numeric combination, follow the ALPHA NUMERICS submission criteria below. For alpha numeric VINs, you must include any alpha characters that may precede numbers, as they are part of the official number. For example, the vessel identification number "CG002972" must be submitted as "CG002972". Reporting only 002972 will result in a warning notice that an invalid vessel number was submitted.

Vessel Official Number (VON) Submission Criteria


  1. 1-9 digits.
  2. No leading spaces.
  3. No embedded spaces.
  4. No alpha characters.
  5. No special characters (/, \. -, etc.).
  6. Submit actual number in its entirety. Do not add leading zeros or eliminate leading zeros if part of the actual number.


  1. 1-9 characters.
  2. No leading spaces.
  3. No embedded spaces.
  4. All alpha characters must be upper case.
  5. No special characters (/, \, -, etc.).

You may receive a warning for incorrect submissions.

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