Ballast water pouring from ship

BIMCO welcomes California's move in adopting US federal ballast water discharge standards

Published: 17 November 2021

The California State Lands Commission (Commission) has adopted ballast water discharge standards meaning that ships arriving into the US will be one step closer to having to follow just one set of standards as opposed to different state-specific regulations. BIMCO welcomes the decision, as having standardised regulations helps create a level playing field rather than having different state-specific regulations.

The decision delays plan to implement compliance dates for the existing interim and final California ballast water discharge performance standards which are different and are more stringent than US federal regulations. The compliance dates have been delayed to 2030 and 2040 and the Commission has also adopted regulatory amendments that will implement the federal ballast water discharge standards for vessels arriving at California ports, among other provisions. These changes will become effective on 1 January 2022.

Under its Marine Invasive Species Program (MISP), California had established biofouling management and ballast water discharge standards that are more stringent than those of the US federal regulations and that of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Ballast water management convention. However, California has not implemented these more stringent measures because the standards are not achievable with the current commercially available technology.

Now, the Commission has instead adopted regulatory amendments that will implement the federal ballast water discharge standards for vessels arriving at California ports, among other provisions. These changes will become effective on 1 January 2022.

The adopted regulations amend sections 2291, 2292, 2293, 2294, 2295, 2296, and 2297 of Article 4.7 of Title 2, Division 3, Chapter 1 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR).

The amended regulations are:

  1. Incorporate the federal ballast water discharge standards and implementation schedule into California law (2 CCR Section 2293 (a)).
  2. Delay the compliance dates for the existing interim and final California ballast water discharge performance standards to 2030 and 2040, respectively (2 CCR Sections 2293 (b) and (c)).
  3. Establish operational monitoring and recordkeeping requirements for vessels that use a ballast water treatment system to meet ballast water discharge performance standards (2 CCR Sections 2295 and 2297).
  4. Authorize Commission staff to collect ballast water and sediment samples for research purposes and compliance assessment (2 CCR Section 2294).

The commission has also collected information and produced Article 4.7 information sheet for more details on these regulatory changes.

Upcoming webinars in this connection

The Commission will conduct two webinars to disseminate the information and clarify doubts if any in this regard.

To register for these webinars please contact of Marine Invasive Species staff at cslc.mepdmisp@slc.ca.gov

Webinar 1 on Thursday, 18 November 2021 10:00 to 11:00 PST (18:00 to 19:00 UTC/GMT) will provide information about the new requirements.

Webinar 2 on Thursday, 16 December 2021 10:00 to 11:00 PST (18:00 to 19:00 UTC/GMT will provide further clarity on the new requirements, and staff will answer any remaining questions from the 18 November webinar.

Both webinars will be recorded and posted on the Commission’s website.

Link 1 – Federal ballast water discharge standards - eCFR :: 33 CFR 151.2030 -- Ballast water discharge standard (BWDS).
Link 2 - Implementation schedule - eCFR :: 33 CFR Part 151 Subpart D -- Ballast Water Management for Control of Nonindigenous Species in Waters of the United States
Link 3 – Article 4.7 information sheet - California's Ballast Water Discharge Performance Standards (windows.net)

Ashok Srinivasan

CONTACT BIMCO

Ashok Srinivasan

Manager, Maritime Safety & Security

Copenhagen, Denmark