The rules, derived from the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, are meant to prevent a worst-case discharge resulting from fire or explosion aboard a vessel.
Coast Guard official admitted at a recent congressional oversight hearing that the U. Coast Guard “has not been aggressively enforcing the compliance” of vessel response plans filed under federal Salvage and Marine Firefighting (SMFF) regulations.
The update, OPNAVINST 5370.2C, was released April 27. ports and sets out the federal ballast water management regulations pursuant to the National Aquatic Nuisance Prevention Control Act (NANPCA) and the National Invasive Species Act (NISA). (Exceptions include, for example, crude oil tankers engaged in coastwise trade and certain armed forces vessels.) The second group includes ships that do not operate beyond the U. Exclusive Economic Zone, but take on and discharge ballast water in more than one Captain of the Port Zone and are greater than 1,600 gross tons register.According to the USCG, the new requirements will be more effective than ballast water exchange and better protect ecosystems within U. The Rule, however, does provide for a case-by-case extension of the applicable compliance date where it can be documented that compliance is not possible within the specified timeframe (requests need to be made at least 12 months prior to the applicable compliance date). As a result of the Rule, ship owners/operators will be subject to new regulatory requirements that not only will increase operating costs, but also will provide the federal government with yet another opportunity to bring an enforcement action seeking (potentially significant) monetary fines and penalties for noncompliance, as well as criminal sanctions for deliberate/willful violations of the Rule (which are often sought in cases brought by the government against ship owners/operators for alleged violations of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, which implements the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships, known as “MARPOL,” for domestic enforcement purposes). Environmental Protection Agency’s Vessel General Permit program under the CWA (which already requires ships operating in U. waters to abide by certain discharge limits) and the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWC) (which will likely soon enter into force once certain threshold country/merchant shipping gross tonnage ratification requirements are satisfied). The first group includes ships that currently are required to conduct ballast water exchange. The Rule also includes specific concentration limits on certain indicator microorganisms (, ships constructed on or after December 1, 2013, the new standards will apply on delivery of the ship. (Note that each state is entitled to impose more stringent requirements pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA).) In general, the Rule requires ship owners/operators to install, operate and maintain a USCG-approved ballast water management system (BWMS) to satisfy the treatment standards for living organisms (., invasive aquatic species, bacteria and other pathogens) in ballast water as specified by the Rule. and foreign, that are equipped with ballast tanks and that operate in U. Once the Rule becomes applicable to a particular ship (which depends on (1) the size of the ship and (2) when the ship was constructed, as discussed below), ballast water discharged into U. waters must contain fewer than 10 organisms per cubic meter for organisms equal to or larger than 50 micrometers, and fewer than 10 organisms per milliliter for organisms less than 50 micrometers and greater than or equal to 10 micrometers.