US regulations affecting your ships - get the April update!

US regulations affecting your ships - get the April update!

Overview

This is the latest in a series of reports supplied by the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) with the intention of keeping BIMCO members appraised of legislative developments in the US affecting international shipping. BIMCO highlights only the relevant developments that would impact members.  The full CSA April report is also provided. 

The Trump Administration – Chapter 2

President Trump has issued Executive Order 13777, entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda”, which among other things, requires all Executive Branch agencies including US Coast Guard and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a review of existing regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.  Currently EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and EPA’s Office of Water have conducted separate listening sessions to receive oral comments from the public on regulatory issues under their respective jurisdiction.  These sessions addressed a broad spectrum of issues addressed in regulations promulgated under the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act which cover a wide range of industrial sectors.

CSA have submitted comments to EPA with a focus on the need for the US to apply international requirements as established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to the global shipping industry in lieu of US centric regulatory programs that exceed or are different from the international requirements.  The obvious case in point is the EPA’s Vessel General Permit program, which at times, conflicts with the US Coast Guard’s ballast water management program and essentially regulates ballast water under two separate statutory authorities. This creates duplication of efforts where the two programs align and conflicting requirements where the two programs do not align.

Hearing on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation to Examine the Range of Regulatory Programs

Following along the position of the Administration as exhibited by the Executive Order referenced above, the US Congress has begun to conduct oversight hearings on a wide range of regulatory programs.  The above referenced Subcommittee held such a hearing with witnesses providing testimony from the US Coast Guard, the Federal Maritime Commission, representatives from the salvage and oil response service providers and the shipping industry.  Due to time constraints, the subcommittee requested the witnesses to focus on three specific issues as follows:

  1. The availability in real time of resources required by USCG regulations as incorporated into vessel response plans relating to salvage and marine firefighting.
  2. The availability in real time of resources required by USCG regulations as incorporated into vessel response plans relating to oil spill response and remediation, particularly in remote areas where alternate compliance plans (ACPs) are in place due to the scarcity of response resources over a large distance eg Western Alaska.
  3. Recent decisions and oversight by the Federal Maritime Commissions relative to the limited anti-trust exemption related to alliances/conferences in the liner trades.

A link to the hearing and witness statements can be found in the full CSA report.

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